Tim Bowen will rise to the role as COO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment as part of an executive reshuffle at the major's highest ranks, sources say.

Tim Bowen will rise to the role as COO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment as part of an executive reshuffle at the major's highest ranks, sources say.

Bowen will succeed Michael Smellie under an expected new structure at the group, which will see CEO Andrew Lack and non-executive chairman Rolf Schmidt-Holtz switch roles.

Bowen currently has full operational responsibility for the company's businesses in the U.K. & Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Going forward, he is expected to continue in those responsibilities.

The appointment of Tim Bowen as COO in New York is regarded positively by staffers. "Bowen has a good track record, is well respected in the company and knows what he's talking about," says a New York-based Sony BMG executive. A spokesman declined to comment.

Bowen's rise at Sony BMG has been rapid. A longtime label executive with Sony Music and Universal Music, he joined BMG in February 2002 as COO of its European activities. The following year, he was appointed chairman of BMG U.K. and Ireland with responsibilities for Hugh Goldsmith's Blue Sky label and the company's TV joint-venture with Simon Cowell's production firm Syco.

Following the merger of BMG and Sony Music Entertainment he was elevated to his current position in February 2005.

He was also closely involved in the multi-million dollar deal announced last December to extend terms with Syco for a further five year.

"Tim has been there since the beginning and fully understands the financial dynamics of television and, as a business paradigm, how it works creatively and financially for a record company," says a source close to Bowen.

As anticipated, Bertelsmann confirmed today the appointment of Schmidt-Holtz as the new chief executive officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, with immediate effect.

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