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BIG CHANGES ON THE SONY SIDE
OF SONY BMG
U.S. Music Head Ienner Realigns Execs, Consolidates Key Team
The action continues at Sony BMG today, at least on the Sony side, with that company’s U.S. music division chief Don Ienner putting major executive changes and promotions into effect, consolidating and firming up his team of key players.

As first reported by Jeff Leeds in the New York Times, Ienner has extensively revamped his domain’s org chart with a suite of moves that includes a highly unusual kind of corporate do-si-do between Charlie Walk and Steve Barnett that leaves each in charge of a label.

Here’s how it works: Epic President Barnett has been named Chairman of Columbia, where he succeeds Will Botwin, who is stepping down. Current Columbia President Steve Greenberg remains in place.

Columbia Executive VP of Creative Marketing and Promotion Walk hands in that hefty title and gets his presidential stripes, becoming President of Epic and, in effect, swapping labels with Barnett. Walk had reportedly been pursued by EMI lately for a top job at Virgin. Well, it looks like they can forget that plan now.

But that’s not all: Ienner has anointed two other Presidents: Sony Music Label Group COO Michele Anthony is now President and COO of the division, assuming the Presidential part of Ienner’s title. Ienner, of course, remains Chairman of the whole ball of wax.

And Sony Urban GM Lisa Ellis has been promoted to President of that division, which is a shared-services unit working with both Columbia and Epic.

But that’s still not all: Head of sales Tom Donnarumma has been named GM of Columbia, where he’ll now report to Barnett. And Alan Price has reportedly also been promoted to a major finance and operations position.

These changes take place as Sony has increased its marketshare over the last year and as Columbia has the #1 record in the country in System of a Down’s Hypnotize.

"We're moving from a position of strength," Ienner told the New York Times. "When you have momentum, it's the right time to make these kinds of important changes—particularly with people who share an intensity of purpose."

According to reports, all of the changes effected by Ienner today have been in the works for months and are unrelated to the turmoil created by corporate parents Sony and Bertelsmann going head-to-head over the future of SBMG topper Andy Lack or the bungled copy protection initiative resulting in the current “rootkit” debacle.

No word yet if a shakeup of this dramatic nature is in the works at the highest levels of SBMG, where Lack remains in charge,  but the company’s increasing legal woes over the rootkit issue and Bertelsmann’s vote of no confidence in Lack make it appear increasingly likely that something major may go down in the SBMG boardroom before long.
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