General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for Universal Music Group
Jeff Harleston is General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for Universal Music Group, located in Santa Monica, California. The Universal Music Group is the worldwide leader in recorded music with companies in over 40 countries. UMG’s labels include Capitol, Interscope, Republic, Motown, Island, Def Jam, and Decca, as well as a music publishing company, Universal Music Publishing and a merchandising company, Bravado.
Jeff is a key member of the senior executive team and responsible for overseeing all business transactions, contracts, and litigation for UMG’s operations worldwide. He is also responsible for the company’s government relations, trade and anti-piracy activities.
Jeff has been with UMG for twenty-six years and had held a variety of senior executive positions including Executive Vice President/Head of Operations for Geffen Records and Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for MCA Records. Before joining Universal, Jeff was an Associate Independent Jeff he also worked as a litigation associate with the firm of Covington & Burling in Washington D.C.
Jeff has been recognized for his many achievements including Billboard’s 2018 “Lawyer of the Year,” the 2018 Diversity Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel for Southern California and in 2017, was named one of Ebony magazine’s “Power 100.” He has been annually recognized by Billboard on the magazine’s “Power 100” list which ranks the most powerful executives in the music industry.
Jeff serves as a Member of the Board of Trustees of Williams College and on the Board of the Harvard-Westlake School. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Recording Industry Association of America, and of SoundExchange. His charitable activities include Board Member of the TJ Martell Foundation and of MusiCares. Jeff is particularly proud to be a Founder of the Universal/Motown Fund, an endowment dedicated to providing financial assistance for artists from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Jeff graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Williams College and holds a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley. He and his wife, Maria, have four children (three boys and finally, a girl) Miles, Zachary, Chase and Kai.