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STRINGER, YEAR ONE

As his first full year at the helm comes to a close, Sony Music boss Rob Stringer has much to celebrate. The numbers for his first fiscal year are expected to be positive, and he’s as aggressive as ever with respect to bringing in top artistic and executive talent. Epic and RCA have had bang-up years, Columbia is beginning a promising new chapter and Stringer and team are in every competitive deal, in addition to re-upping megastar Justin Timberlake and re-signing the Michael Jackson catalog. He’s also reconfigured his international department, facilitating more direct reports from ex-U.S. departments.

Stringer faced some hurdles at the outset: In addition to having to replace himself as Columbia chief, he lost Epic’s L.A. Reid to murky misconduct charges. He dealt with the latter situation by empowering Sylvia Rhone, whose streak with streaming-friendly hip-hop records has continued; the Epic President obtained an ace promo chief in Rick Sackheim and upped Ezekiel Lewis to EVP A&R. And Stringer restructured Columbia by bringing in wunderkind Ron Perry, teaming him with trusted day-to-day marketing/promo whiz Joel Klaiman. Perry, charged with signing new talent, is off to a strong start as he reinvents Columbia’s A&R department and seems to be in every big deal of note so far this year.

More recently, following Tom Corson’s exit to Warner Bros., Nipper chief Peter Edge upped John Fleckenstein and Joe Riccitelli to Co-Presidents and promoted Keith Naftaly to President of A&R. RCA is thought to be close to renewing its deal with superstar Alicia Keys as well.

Stringer just bade farewell to his friend and former boss Doug Morris, who’s moving on to launch his next venture. But he has moved decisively to put his own stamp on Sony, and the upcoming numbers should attest to his successes.

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