Label vet signed Shakira.

Carlos Gutiérrez, the longtime president of Sony BMG's operation in Colombia, will retire Dec. 31, Billboard.biz has learned. Gutiérrez spent 34 years as president of CBS Records, Sony Music and finally, Sony BMG Colombia and CEV (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela).

Stepping into the role of president of Sony BMG for CEV, is Andrés Lopez, who was most recently VP of marketing for the company. He will continue to be based in Bogotá, Colombia, reporting to Kevin Lawrie, who will assume the position of president, Sony BMG Music Entertainment for the Latin region on Jan. 1.

Gutiérrez says he has no immediate plans to work in the music industry but did not discount the possibility of working independently in some fashion in the future. During his nearly four-decade tenure at Sony's Colombian office, Gutiérrez consistently maintained the company as the marketshare leader in the country and signed multiple chart topping acts, most notably, a young Shakira.

"He is, without a doubt, the most respected music executive in Colombia," said Frank Welzer, the outgoing chairman/CEO of Sony BMG's Latin region.

López takes over a musically rich and thriving region where sales have stabilized in 2005 after years of decline due to piracy and political and economic turmoil. Priorities for 2006 include development of the digital and mobile marketplace as well as the exportation of key artists.