Universal Music India managing director Rajat Kakar has taken over responsibility for all aspects of the company's operations with immediate effect.

Universal Music India managing director Rajat Kakar has taken over responsibility for all aspects of the company's operations with immediate effect. Kakar takes the reins at the Indian affiliate of London-based Universal Music International (UMI) following the Oct. 1 retirement of company chairman Vijay Lazarus, announced today (Oct. 8).

In his new role, Kakar reports to Hong Kong-based UMI president of South East Asia Harry Hui. "Rajat is an intelligent, creative music executive who is leading our new management team in a very competitive India market," says Hui. "I have every confidence in him and his team to continue to expand our business there."

Kakar had been managing director of the Mumbai-based company since May 2003. Lazarus became chairman at the same time; he had been president and managing director. Kakar joined Universal as senior VP of sales and marketing services in November 2002 from Sony Music India, where he was sales director.

In a Universal statement, Kakar said, "There are tremendous opportunities in the changing music industry today, and I am confident that we will continue to be a key player in this market."

The statement confirming Kakar's promotion described the latest move as "a planned management transition." Lazarus was a 34-year company veteran. He has now taken on a full-time role as president of labels body the Mumbai-based Indian Music Industry (IMI) and of its performing rights collecting society Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL).

He formerly held those roles on a voluntary, part-time basis. According to Hui, Lazarus' "contributions to the success and stature of our company in India over the decades are inestimable. We shall miss him."