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"I look forward to working closely with Don, as we fully capitalize on the resources of Sony overall and maximize the impact of our releases on the marketplace."
——Andrew Lack, Sony Music Entertainment Chairman/CEO
IENNER BECOMES SONY U.S. CHIEF
Elevation of Longtime CRG Head Represents the Crowning Touch in Lack’s Restructuring
You might say Donnie Ienner is walking on the Sony side of the street.

In an announcement that will surprise absolutely no one who's been paying attention, recently appointed Sony Music Entertainment Chairman/CEO Andrew Lack has placed the crown on the head of Columbia Records Group Chairman Ienner, naming him to the newly created post of Sony Music U.S. President, reporting to Lack.

In his new role, Ienner will oversee all of Sony Music’s domestic labels, prominently including dual flagships Columbia and Epic, with CRG President Will Botwin and Epic Records Group President Polly Anthony reporting to him. Other labels under Ienner’s aegis are Sony Classical, Sony Music Nashville, Sony Music Soundtrax, Sony Wonder and Legacy Recordings. He’ll also work closely with SME’s senior management team in developing and implementing strategic initiatives relating to sales and distribution, among other areas.

Expected or not, Lack’s coronation of Ienner is the most significant appointment he’ll make, as the former NBC President orchestrates a radical restructuring of the music group.

"During his tenure with the company, Don Ienner has built Columbia Records into one of the most powerful and respected labels in the history of popular music," Lack said in his official statement. "His industry-wide reputation as a champion of artists, combined with his track record of success and his considerable talents as a leader, make him the perfect choice to head our U.S. operations. I look forward to working closely with Don, as we fully capitalize on the resources of Sony overall and maximize the impact of our releases on the marketplace."

Said Ienner: "I’m deeply honored to have been chosen by Andy to lead the U.S. company, and I look forward to working closely with him as I assume my new responsibilities. I’d also like to express my respect and admiration for the entire Sony Music family, particularly [EVP] Michele Anthony, [International Chairman] Bob Bowlin, [International President] Rick Dobbis and [EVP/CFO] Kevin Kelleher, all of whom I’ve worked with for years and will be invaluable to me in my new position. I will also be depending on the leadership of our flagship labels, headed by Will Botwin at Columbia and Polly Anthony at Epic, as well as the talented teams of our Nashville, Classical and Sony Wonder divisions, as we face the challenges ahead of us.

"Our company is home to the greatest artists in the world," Ienner continued. "They are the foundation of Sony Music, and we should all be proud of those that have spent their entire careers with our labels—some for upwards of three or four decades—as well as the younger artists who are extending the Sony labels' legacy into the 21st century. We have a responsibility to respect their creative integrity and artistic vision while finding new ways to do business. We will stay true to that philosophy as we build upon our company’s unparalleled musical heritage."

As CRG Chairman, a position he had held since 1994, Ienner oversaw all operations pertaining to Columbia Records and its affiliated labels, determining the overall strategic direction of the Group.

From helping to identify and introduce some of the most influential new artists of the past decade to further expanding the careers of the label’s roster of superstar artists, Ienner is widely credited with transforming Columbia into an industry leader. Under his direction, Columbia has also implemented a broad array of groundbreaking marketing and promotion initiatives, resulting in sales that have made Columbia the #1 label in overall marketshare for five years running.

The Columbia roster includes Aerosmith, Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett, David Bowie, Bow Wow, Charlotte Church, Destiny’s Child, Neil Diamond, Dixie Chicks, Bob Dylan, Jagged Edge, Vivian Green, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Billy Joel, Ricky Martin, Maxwell, John Mayer, Nas, Offspring, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, System of a Down, James Taylor, Train, and Pete Yorn.

Until 2002, Ienner did double duty as CRG President, a position he assumed in 1989 at age 36, making him the youngest President in the label’s 120-year history. Ienner served in this capacity for more than 13 years, earning him the distinction of the being the label’s longest-serving President. Last year, Ienner passed the mantle to longtime label exec Botwin.

Prior to joining Columbia, Ienner was Executive Vice President/GM of Arista Records. He joined Arista in 1983 as VP Promotion, and during his tenure with the label he played a pivotal role in the label’s emergence as a commercial powerhouse, introducing and breaking the likes of Whitney Houston, Kenny G and Taylor Dayne, as well as furthering the careers of such veteran artists as Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin and the Grateful Dead, among many others.

Ienner began his music industry career 34 years ago in the Capitol Records mailroom while still in high school. From 1972 to 1977, he was in partnership with older brother Jimmy Ienner in C.A.M. U.S.A., a publishing, management and production company that represented such artists as Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Raspberries and Eric Carmen. In 1977, he co-founded Millennium Records, where he served as Executive VP, until joining Arista.

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