As anticipated, Bertelsmann confirmed today (Feb. 10) the appointment of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz as the new chief executive officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, effective immediately.

As anticipated, Bertelsmann confirmed today (Feb. 10) the appointment of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz as the new chief executive officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, effective immediately.

Schmidt-Holtz was chairman of Sony BMG since the 2004 merger of the recorded music divisions of BMG and Sony Music. It is understood that he will be trading seats with current CEO Andrew Lack, although that was not confirmed by Bertelsmann.

The appointment of Schmidt-Holtz puts an end to several months of discussions between Bertelsmann and Sony Corp. about the leadership at Sony BMG. Currently based in Germany, Schmidt-Holtz will relocate to New York.

"Sony BMG is gaining a media executive who is as experienced as he is successful," said Bertelsmann chairman & CEO Gunter Thielen in a statement. "Rolf Schmidt-Holtz has impressively proven his flair for both the creative and economic aspects of success in the music business -- and under the most difficult of market conditions -- at the helm of the Bertelsmann Music Group."

The return of Schmidt-Holtz to a prominent role within Sony BMG is viewed positively in Germany. "I think it is great that with the return of Schmidt-Holtz to New York, German discipline and German management skills will succeed," says Thomas M. Stein, who held various top management positions within BMG, and is currently chairman of music production company Jack White in Berlin.

Stein was BMG's executive president worldwide A&R in New York and BMG president for Europe between 2001 and 2003, during which period he worked with Schmidt-Holtz. Stein describes him as someone with great skills to "integrate different company's cultures."

Schmidt-Holtz was a member of the executive board of German media concern Bertelsmann AG and the group's chief creative officer, two positions he has now relinquished.

Schmidt-Holtz corporate responsibilities at Bertelsmann will be redistributed among the other members of the executive board.