In a move that has long been anticipated, Sony Music Label Group revealed today (Dec. 7) that it is restructuring its urban music division, and creating a new role for the unit's top executive, Lisa Ellis.

Sony Urban Music, previously a 70-person shared-services operation comprising the Epic and Columbia's R&B departments, will now be housed under the Columbia Records Group umbrella.

As part of the restructuring, Sony Urban Music president Lisa Ellis has been named executive VP for Sony Music Label Group (SMLG), reporting to SMLG president Rob Stringer.

"With the integration of Sony Urban Music and Columbia Records it puts the artist roster in a position of strength under one umbrella," Stringer said in a memo to Sony staffers. "We remain firmly committed to signing and breaking artists in the R&B, Hip Hop and Gospel genres."

Sony Urban's December schedule remains intact. The "Dreamgirls" soundtrack bowed Dec. 5, while albums are still on the way from Bow Wow (Dec. 19) and Omarion (Dec. 26).

As for Ellis, Stringer says she will "be involved in all aspects of the Sony Music Label Group's activities, with particular emphasis on broadening our growth as an entertainment company in the digital era."

There was no word of additional personnel moves, roster shuffles or layoffs as part of the announcement. Sony executives did not return calls for comment by press time.

The restructuring comes as Sony BMG has been in the midst of pruning its staff across a number of units including Sony BMG Masterworks, Sony BMG's Legacy unit and its Customer Marketing Group.

Ellis, a 10-year Sony vet, was promoted to president of Sony Urban Music last December. Since the division was formed in 2003, she has overseen a string of hits including John Legend, Omarion, Lyfe Jennings, Three 6 Mafia, and Beyonce.

Over the course of her career she has also served stints as a marketing manager at Pepsi-Cola, promotions and marketing director at CBS Radio and sports marketing manager for Reebok International.