The chief executive and chairman of the board are switching hats in a shakeup at Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the powerhouse record company behind such pop stars as Britney Spears, OutKast and Aerosmith.
German media company Bertelsmann AG and Sony Corp., the two corporate parents of the joint venture, on Friday said Chairman Rolf Schmidt-Holtz will replace current CEO Andrew Lack, who will become chairman.
The shakeup follows months of criticism of Lack's tenure as CEO, including investor discontent over spiraling fees paid to artists and a scandal over copy protection software in Sony CDs.
Following the change, Schmidt-Holtz will assume overall management responsibility, while Lack "will lead the company's public policy and industry initiatives, and assume operating responsibility and oversight for the theatrical film business of Sony BMG," a joint statement said.
Sony BMG was formed after Sony Music Entertainment and BMG, the music unit of Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann, formally combined their businesses. Sony and Bertelsmann each own half of the company.
Schmidt-Holtz was BMG's chief executive from 2001 until the merger in mid-2004 and has been chairman of New York-based Sony BMG since then.
"With this management change Rolf and Andy are now aligned in positions that will take advantage of the significant progress the company has already made, as well as their formidable business skills and respective management experiences," Sony Corp. Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer said.
Bertelsmann CEO Gunter Thielen said Schmidt-Holtz "has impressively proven his flair for the creative and economic aspects of success in the music business."