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Simon Dunmore steps down as CEO of Defected Records as label is acquired

Former Managing Director Wez Saunders has bought out the seminal UK label's founder for an undisclosed sum

Simon Dunmore steps down as CEO of Defected Records as label is acquired

Simon Dunmore has stepped down as CEO of Defected Records following a management buyout.

Defected's former Managing Director and now-CEO Wez Saunders, who joined the company in 2014, has acquired the label and promoter for an undisclosed sum, Music Week reports. The terms of the deal are also unknown. Dunmore will continue to work for Defected as an A&R consultant. 

According to Music Week, documents lodged at Companies House show that Saunders has entered into a security agreement via a holding company with Pinnacle Bank to fund the acquisition of the company.

"Wez Saunders has been my right-hand man for eight years," Dunmore said in a statement. "Together, we have navigated Defected into prolific times, helping build an incredible team and a business with solid foundations due to its treasure chest of masters and publishing catalogues... These are exciting times, and I'll continue to be part of Defected’s campaigns, but now I am delighted to be handing over the helm to Wez, who alongside our new partners will guide Defected into new fertile waters. A new era."

In a statement, Saunders said: “Defected has always upheld house music’s standards globally by supporting innovative artists and by consistently servicing our community with quality recorded music, live events, digital marketing strategies and more. I am grateful to Simon Dunmore for his ongoing mentorship and for trusting us to continue his legacy, evolving the next generation of Defected. It is our intention alongside partners, associates, talent and staff to preserve the culture and values that built such a powerful community of artists and fans, while driving the business into a new era of investment, impact and expansion.”

Defected reportedly had its most successful year yet and is expected to hit 2.4 billion streams, more than 300 events with over 600,000 tickets sold in 2022, according to Music Week.

Dunmore launched Defected in 1999 and has released music by the likes of Masters At Work, Dennis Ferrer, Kevin Saunderson and Todd Terry. It's grown into an events mainstay, with Ibiza residencies, festivals in Malta and Croatia and noteworthy charity livestreams. In 2019, Ben Arnold interviewed Dunmore for Defected's 20th anniversary — revisit that feature here.