The New York Times reports that Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, announced Wednesday what had been expected for months: that Lucian Grainge, the head of the company’s international division, will become chief executive.

It will be almost a year before Lucian Grange will take office. In July, he will move to New York from London to share the job with Doug Morris, the current chief executive. On January 1, 2011, Mr. Grainge will become the chief of Universal. Mr. Morris, who became chairman and chief executive in 1995, will remain chairman at least through 2013, when his current contract expires. Mr. Morris said: "The time has come for Lucian to step up to the CEO. role. I am very happy with the new organization, as I have been grooming him to succeed me for quite a while now."

Grainge has spent the last five years running operations in 50 countries outside of North America and is credited with expanding Universal Music’s reach through digital distribution as well as moving into new businesses, such as merchandise sales, live event production and artist services, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Grainge will be taking head of Universal at a time when music piracy rules over the sale of music. He will have numerous challenges facing how to make music profitable again. The LA Times reports that Universal Music, home to Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas and recent Grammy Award winners Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, had a sales decline of 5.2 percent for the first nine months last year. Digital sales have increased but the sales of CD’s have steadily declined. The label has attempted to find sources of revenue through avenues such as its new ad-supported Vevo online music video service, developed with the help of Google Inc.’s YouTube.

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