Lazarus Serobe is to leave his post as managing director of Heita Records, the joint-venture label he launched in December 2004 with Sony BMG Africa.

Lazarus Serobe is to leave his post as managing director of Heita Records, the joint-venture label he launched in December 2004 with Sony BMG Africa.

Serobe, a former Sony South Africa managing director, will leave later this month to pursue other media interests, according to a statement. Sony BMG Africa has bought out Serobe's stake in the Heita Records for an undisclosed sum.

Following his exit, Heita Records will be fully integrated as a label of Sony BMG Africa. Serobe will be succeeded by label GM Matwetwe Ntombini, who will report to Sony BMG Africa CEO Keith Lister. No jobs will be affected, the company says.

"Lazarus was instrumental in giving Heita structure and profile as a start-up label that inherited repertoire and artist contracts from the old Sony South Africa," comments Tim Bowen, Sony BMG's CEO for the U.K., Canada, Australia and Africa. "Heita has been a success from the beginning and I am very sorry to see Lazarus leave us."

Lister insisted it would be "business as usual" for Heita. "We'll be closer to Heita artists and releases than we were last year and we'll be better able to drive Heita artists and releases into exciting business opportunities," he comments.

Heita is the recording home of one of South Africa's best-selling groups Malaika, whose November 2005-release "Vuthelani" has sold 250,000 copies, according to the label. Other keys acts to now come under the Sony BMG Africa umbrella include classically-trained singer Sibongile Khumalo and R&B act KB.

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