Sylvia Rhone is an American music industry executive who served as president of Universal Motown Records until 2011.
She has overseen a roster of artists in the Universal Motown lineup including Lil Wayne and the Cash Money artists Nicki Minaj, Drake, Kid Cudi, Nelly, Melanie Fiona, Akon, Erykah Badu, and Stevie Wonder.
In October 2004, Rhone was appointed president of Motown Records and executive vice president of Universal Records. Prior to her Universal Motown role, Rhone served as chairwoman and CEO of the Elektra Entertainment Group, transforming the boutique label into one of the most eclectic rosters in the music business. Rhone's appointment in 1994 as chairwoman and CEO of EEG established her as the only African American and the first woman in the history of the recording industry to attain such a title.
As of 2012, Rhone is CEO of her self-founded label Vested in Culture which has a distribution deal with Epic Records, a label under Sony Music Entertainment.
Early life, education, and early career
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 11, 1952, and raised in Harlem, Rhone has cited her early exposure to seminal R&B shows at the Apollo Theatre as pivotal to her belief in music as an inspirational force. Accepted at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Rhone graduated with a B.S. in Economics. She got a job at Bankers Trust in New York City soon after graduating college, but she pursued her passion for music by landing a job as a secretary for Buddha Records in 1974. In a succession of promotions over the next six years, she also held positions at ABC Records and Ariola Records. Rhone was previously part of the Elektra family in 1980 as northeast regional promotion manager for special markets, and she was eventually promoted to director of national black music marketing for Atlantic Records.