Doug Morris Named Sony Chief

Doug Morris

Doug Morris, one of the most influential executives in the global music industry, has officially exited his post as Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group to join Sony Music Entertainment in the same role. He will be in office at Sony effective July 1, 2011.

Morris will succeed Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who will be departing the company concurrent with the end of his contract on March 31, 2011.

Until July, Sony Corporation Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Sir Howard Stringer will oversee the executive decision-making at SME.

Morris, who became Worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UMG in 1995, revealed last year that he would step down from that role at the end of 2010.

Today’s announcement was made by Stringer. “I have known Doug Morris for many years, and am delighted that he has agreed to lead Sony Music Entertainment,” he said. “At this critical time in the evolution of the music industry, I can think of no one more qualified as a proven executive, an innovator, a music impresario and a statesman than Doug Morris. I welcome him to the Company and look forward to our working together to drive Sony Music to preeminence in the industry.

“I also want to thank Rolf Schmidt-Holtz for his tremendous contribution to Sony Music,” Stringer continued. “From his time as Chairman of the Sony BMG Music Entertainment joint venture in 2004, through his operational role as CEO beginning in 2006, Rolf has been a courageous, candid and forward-thinking executive, and our entire Company has benefited greatly from his leadership. We wish him great success as he undertakes new challenges upon his return to Europe.”

“I’m delighted by the opportunity to work with Howard and the entire Sony Music team,” commented Morris. “At such a pivotal time for music, it’s more important than ever to develop a fertile, creative environment that generates the highest quality of  artists and music, while seeking to fully exploit the many opportunities that new digital services and products provide in reaching audiences around the world.”

Morris began his music career as a songwriter with credits including the Chiffons’ 1966 hit, “Sweet Talkin’ Guy,” and as producer of hits including Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.” He transitioned to the label world, joining Laurie Records in 1965 and later launching his own Big Tree Records. His career has gone on to include top-tier executive positions at Warner Music, Atlantic Records, MCA Music Entertainment Group and Universal Records.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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