Sir Harry Cowell is to exit British-based independent music publisher and production firm Rive Droite Music to take the reins at a start-up music venture.

Sir Harry Cowell is to exit British-based independent music publisher and production firm Rive Droite Music to take the reins at a start-up music venture.

Funded by City investors, the new firm Private and Confidential Music Ltd incorporates studios, music publishing, production, management and a record label. It is jointly owned by producer/songwriter Ben "Jammin" Robbins and Cowell; a 25% stake was sold to raise initial capital.

First release on the label is A-ha keyboardist Magne F's solo album "Past Perfect Future Sense." Plans are to release a new solo set from Heather Small early next year. The company will also closely guide the career of singer and songwriter Steve Balsamo (Jesus Christ Superstar/Notre Dame de Paris).

Cowell hopes to develop Private and Confidential into a 360-degree model in the mould of Sanctuary Group's. Its two-year goal is to float on the Alternative Investment Market segment of the London Stock Exchange. As managing director of the new firm, Cowell will oversee the artist management arm and the selection and writing of works.

The executive departs Rive Droite after more than three and a half years' service. "I decided to leave Rive Droite as I had a difference of opinion on how the U.K. company should move forward in this ever changing business we are in at present," Cowell tells Billboard.biz.

He joined the company in Oct. 2001 as senior A&R and in Jan. 2002 was elevated to MD. Rive Droite has had success writing and producing such hits as Kylie Minogue's "On a Night Like This", Enrique Iglesias', "Bailamos" & "Hero", Jimmy Nail's "Ain't No Doubt" and Cher's "Believe."

Rive Droite Music Ltd. is the British music publishing subsidiary of Paris-based French indie music group XIII Bis. It has offices in Paris, London, Cologne and Los Angeles.