Universal Music Group CEO & chairman Sir Lucian Grainge has paid tribute to Clive Fisher, who has died aged 71 following a period of ill health.
Clive Fisher was a longtime Universal Music executive who was promoted to EVP in 2005, reporting to Sir Lucian, who was then in charge of Universal Music Group International.
A legendary lawyer and deal-maker, Fisher spent 33 years at Universal, including 19 years as director of legal & business affairs.
He retired in 2011 to spend more time with his wife Coni – as reported by Music Week at the time – but remained as an adviser to Sir Lucian, UK CEO/chairman David Joseph and the rest of the UMG leadership.
“Clive Fisher was a loyal colleague who loved people and enjoyed being in the company of characters,” said Sir Lucian Grainge. “Over the 25 years we worked together, he created a unique role for himself as a behind-the-scenes dealmaker who used his soft-power and personal networks within the industry to close countless artist and label deals.
“Many times over the years someone would congratulate me for an executive’s work in making a deal. What they didn’t know was that it was Clive leveraging his relationships and his credibility within the legal community that was often the deciding factor. I will miss him greatly.”
Over the 25 years we worked together, he created a unique role for himself as a behind-the-scenes dealmaker
Sir Lucian Grainge
Fisher was responsible for some of the key deals for the company starting in the ’70s, with The Cure, The Jam, and then through the ’80s with acts such as Level 42 and more recently Elton John, Metallica and Queen.
He was also behind the move into theatre projects like Mamma Mia! and partnerships with Andrew Lloyd Webber.
A popular figure within the major, Fisher was credited with being integral to helping form the company that Universal Music has grown into today, both through artist signings and mergers & acquisitions.
He was also a longstanding board member of PPL and VPL from 1996 to 2005, as well as being a BPI Rights Committee member for many years.
Maggie Crowe OBE, BPI director events & charities, added: "Everyone who knew or worked with Clive Fisher, or ‘Fish-face’ as I used to fondly call him, recognised him as a true gent, with a razor-sharp brain and wit and quick one-liners that would make you howl with laughter. We knew him best at the BPI as Polygram’s representative on our Rights Committee from the early 80’s through to 2000, when he helped to guide our industry on major issues such as the campaign against home taping and the MMC Inquiry on CD Pricing. Through these two decades Clive always listened, steered and campaigned for the good of the BPI’s member labels and their artists, and he made an immeasurable contribution to the music community. We all owe him a debt of gratitude and will always remember him with great affection. We send our love and heartfelt condolences to Coni and his Universal Music family."
Fisher was a lifetime Wrexham FC supporter and known for his love of the sausage sandwich.