BMG Reorganizes Management with New US and European Directors

On January 19, Bertelsmann Music Group Entertainment announced changes in senior management that include a new chief financial officer and new directors for its American and European divisions. A major division of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, BMG suffered the loss of music industry veteran Rudi Gassner shortly before Christmas. Gassner, who had been slated to become CEO of BMG, died of a heart attack while vacationing in Bavaria.

Gassner's successor is Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who will assume the roles of both president and chief executive of BMG. Former RCA Records president Robert Jamieson will assume the titles of president and chief executive for BMG North America. His duties will include the operations of the RCA Music Group, Arista Records, and BMG Distribution. BMG United Kingdom chairman Richard Griffiths will be Jamieson's counterpart for the United Kingdom and Europe.

Former media consultant David Kang has assumed the position of senior vice president for new technology and strategic development. He will supervise all new technology and media developments for the company. Former BMG executive Joseph Gorman, who departed the company three years ago, will return to BMG as senior vice president and chief financial officer, according to a press release. Other changes in upper management for BMG's global operations include the appointment of Thomas Stein to the position of executive vice president for worldwide marketing and artist & repertoire ("A&R"). Konrad Hilbers moves up to executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Developing a strong management team at BMG has been a particular concern for Bertelsmann AG since before Gassner's death. The German firm has been in negotiations for a possible merger with the UK's EMI PLC, the third largest music company in the world. European Union commissioners ruled out a potential merger late last year between EMI and Warner Music, a division of Time Warner, on the grounds that the resulting company would virtually monopolize the European music market. Bertelsmann is ranked fifth among the world's "Big Five" music companies.