U2 break silence on departure of Paul McGuinness

Band thanks ex-manager for ‘extraordinary leadership, guidance and friendship’

The Edge and Paul McGuinness. He announced last month that he was leaving the band. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

The Edge and Paul McGuinness. He announced last month that he was leaving the band. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 12:24

U2 have broken their silence on the departure of manager Paul McGuinness and thanked him for “his extraordinary leadership, guidance and friendship over the last 35 years”.

The band issued a statement through their website paying tribute to the man who many regarded as the fifth member of U2.

McGuinness announced last month that he was leaving the band stating in an interview with The New York Times that he had was now approaching the “musically relevant age of 64”.

“I have resolved to take a less hands-on role as the band embark on the next cycle of their extraordinary career,” he said.

He also announced that he was handing over management of the band to Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary who he described as the “best manager of his generation”.

U2 declined to comment on his retirement giving rise to rumours that there was a rift in the camp between themselves and the man who has been with the group since the beginning, but they scotched those rumours at U2.com this morning.

Announcing that they had finalised and signed a new management contract with Live Nation and Guy Oseary, the band stated that “Paul has saved us from ourselves many times over and we would not be U2 without him”.

They added: “Sometime soon, U2 will begin a new adventure around the world and we totally understand and respect Paul’s desire to not run away with the circus - AGAIN (sic).

“Perhaps more than any music management operation in history, Paul, alongside Trevor, Keryn and the team at Principle Management has always fought for our rights, for our music, for our fans and for the principles that we and he believe in.

“His central lesson was that if you cared for your ‘art’, you must also ‘take care of business’ as historically with rock and roll bands, the latter has undone the former.”

Referring to McGuinness’s continuing role as the chairman of U2’s company Principle Management, they added: “We are relieved he will remain on as the mentor-in-chief.

“We’ve known Guy for a long, long time, and we’re excited that with Paul’s blessing he’s agreed to take us on. He is a brilliant man with a lot of energy, and knows he has got some big shoes to fill.’