Sony turn tables on execs as CEO decision looms
- Last Updated: 4:23 AM, October 15, 2010
- Posted: 12:00 AM, October 15, 2010
The internal jockeying to lead Sony's high-profile music division is intensifying as top executives head to a huge management summit next week.
Among the candidates vying for the top job are: RCA Music Group Chief, Barry Weiss; Rob Stringer, who runs Columbia/Epic; and Martin Bandier, who oversees Sony/ATV, Sony's music-publishing unit, according to sources.
Sony Music executives will be sweating out their futures in Miami, where they are gathering to digest the digital music business run by Thomas Hesse. But what executives really want to know is who will be leading the company come next year.
Until recently, the contest to succeed current Chief Executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, whose contract expires at the end of the year, was seen as a two-way race between Weiss and Stringer, whose brother is Sony Corp. CEO Howard Stringer.
However, sources said Howard Stringer hasn't made a decision yet, and may extend Schmidt-Holtz's contract by a few months to buy more time.
Meanwhile, Bandier, who joined the company in 2007 after running EMI Music Publishing for 16 years, is gaining support within Sony's ranks. He wouldn't be the first publishing boss to take the reins of a major music label. Roger Faxon ran rival EMI's publishing arm until recently, when he was upped to CEO of the company.
Bandier has made acquisitions to bolster the Sony division, including Via-
com's Famous Music catalogue and the Leiber & Stoller catalogue.
According to Billboard, Sony/ATV has increased its market share, snagging second place among labels in the second quarter, and first place in the two quarters previous.
Sony/ATV is co-owned by trusts set up for Michael Jackson and Sony Corp., but does not sit under Sony Music. Thus, Bandier isn't caught up in the "civil war" between rival factions under Weiss and Stringer.
Weiss is widely viewed as a successful producer and a natural successor to Schmidt-Holtz, since the two both hailed from BMG, which merged with Sony in 2004. If Weiss doesn't get the top slot, sources said he will leave.
Weiss' p.r. rep didn't return a call for comment.
Several executives suggest he would take a position at Universal Music Group, now under the leadership of incoming chief Lucian Grainge. Weiss has another year on his contract, however, which would legally prevent rivals from discussing new positions with him.
"He's not going anywhere until he figures out his situation contractually," said one source.