Exchange Online Distribution Groups and changing ownership

PowerShellExchOnlineWhile creating a Distribution Group, you set the owner / manager of the group. The owner has permission to add and remove members from the group, process requests to join and moderate messages if configured to do so. If you have given ownership to an individual, but haven’t added your own account, you won’t have permission to change the Distribution Group settings.
To add additional group owners, you will need to use PowerShell and bypass the Security Group Manager check.

Install the Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) Module –

Connect WAAD PowerShell to Exchange Online

$LiveCred = Get-Credential
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $LiveCred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session

Example 1 – adds a new group owner/manager.

Set-DistributionGroup  -Identity [“Distribution Group”] -ManagedBy [manager] -BypassSecurityGroupManagerCheck

Example 2 – Adds two new group owners to all distribution groups

**Take care when using this command. It replaces the existing group owners/managers with the users you list in the command. 

Get-DistributionGroup  | Set-DistributionGroup -ManagedBy [manager1], [manager2]-BypassSecurityGroupManagerCheck

The ManagedBy parameter specifies the name of the mailbox recipient that appears on the Managed by tab of the Active Directory object. If this parameter isn’t specified, the creator of the group is the owner.

This parameter accepts the following values:

  • Alias Example: JPhillips
  • Display Name Example: Jeff Phillips
  • SMTP Address Example:
  • User Principal Name Example:

The recipients specified with the ManagedBy parameter aren’t automatically members of the distribution group. If you want recipients specified in this parameter to be added as members of the distribution group, you need to add them as members.



The Set-DistributionGroup command

3 Replies to “Exchange Online Distribution Groups and changing ownership”

  1. FINALLY! just the commands I was looking for… Thanks so much….


    1. I’m glad the post was still useful, over 4 years later. That isn’t always the case as things change and improve so often in Office 365.


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