Columbia's Rob Stringer Named Sony Music CEO: Doug Morris Shifts To Chairman

Columbia's Rob Stringer Named Sony Music CEO: Doug Morris Shifts To Chairman

Columbia Records chairman and CEO Rob Stringer has been named chief executive officer of Sony Music Entertainment, it was announced Tuesday.

Under Stringer's successful leadership, Columbia has grown into the industry's leading label by market share, with a roster that includes numerous most accomplished and iconic artists in the world, including Adele, Beyonc, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, Calvin Harris, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Dixie Chicks, John Legend, John Mayer, One Direction and Tony Bennett. He is the only executive who has held the title of CEO of all three music majors, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and now, Sony Music Entertainment.

Mr. Stringer cut his teeth as a marketing intern at CBS Records-now part of Sony-in 1985, and rose through the ranks to take leadership positions at Epic Records and Sony Music's United Kingdom division. He is the younger brother of Sony Corp.'s SNE, +2.17% former chairman and CEO, Sir Howard Stringer. Stringer also was a key player in the release of David Bowie's final album, Blackstar.

Commenting on Stringer's appointment, Lynton stated: "Rob Stringer is one of the most skilled and successful executives in the music industry". In his new advisory role he will report directly to me.

Sony said that the change would come in April, when Mr. Stringer would take on operational responsibility for Sony's labels, which in addition to Columbia include RCA, Epic, Sony Classical, Legacy, Masterworks and many others.

The change is a notably orderly one for Sony's entertainment division, which two years ago was rocked by a computer breach that led to the departure of the head of the company's film studio, Amy Pascal.

In a statement, Mr. Lynton said that Mr. Morris "has expertly led Sony Music through some of the most transformative and challenging issues facing the music industry". His ability to adapt to meet the needs of artists and fans in a dynamic marketplace that mixes digital audio, visual media and physical goods makes him the ideal fit to head the company moving forward. Rob is a passionate and competitive executive who understands the importance and value of hits, and like a heat-seeking missile, he locks onto great artists. Most importantly, he is one of the finest people I know. I would like to thank Kaz Hirai and Michael Lynton for believing in the value and power of music, and for their continuing support of me. Thanks to the growing popularity of online streaming, music revenue in the poised to expand for a second straight year in 2016 - the first time that's happened since CD sales peaked in 1998 and 1999. "I am excited to work with the great team we have built at Sony Music to continue to be a champion for artists, and further adapt and grow the business as we meet the challenges ahead".

There is no official word yet on who will take the throne at Columbia, but news is sure to arrive in the coming weeks.