In a surprise move, Warner Music International chairman/CEO Paul-René Albertini has exited the company, with immediate effect. The French executive has been replaced by veteran U.S. broadcast exe

In a surprise move, Warner Music International chairman/CEO Paul-René Albertini has exited the company, with immediate effect.

The French executive has been replaced by veteran U.S. broadcast executive Patrick Vien who, since 2004, has been president of NBC Universal's Global Networks Division.

Until now, the WMI president has overseen WMG's international recorded music business from London. Going forward, Vien will be based in New York.

Neither parent company Warner Music Group representatives nor Albertini could be reached for comment.

In a statement issued today (Feb. 13), WMG chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. commented that Albertini leaves "WMI strongly positioned for continued success and creative achievement." He added, "I want to thank him for his years of service to all of our artists and for his commitment to successfully leading our international recorded music operations. On behalf of the entire company, we wish Paul-René the very best."

Albertini took the helm at WMI in September 2002 after serving as president, Warner Music Europe since December 2000. He joined WMI from Sony Music Entertainment Europe where he held the post of executive VP. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO, Sony Music France from 1994 - 1999.

At WMI, Vien's new role sees him tasked with overseeing WMG's international recorded music business, which comprises affiliates and licensees in more than 50 countries outside the United States.

"With his extensive background in producing, distributing and marketing content in a dynamic international environment, and his strong relationships in the entertainment community," says Bronfman, "Patrick will be an invaluable addition to WMG as we continue our transformation into a diverse, music-based content company."

As president of NBC Universal Global Networks, Vien was responsible for the division of the company that wholly owns and operates 11 television channels in territories around the world. The entertainment TV channels under Vien's supervision reached more than 70 million subscribers across 40 countries, according to WMG.

Vien previously held posts as president of Universal's Television Network Enterprises and as president/COO of North American Television.