Steven Howard, managing director of Zomba Music Publishers U.K. and Zomba Music Management, has exited the company after 24 years' service.

Steven Howard, managing director of Zomba Music Publishers U.K. and Zomba Music Management, has exited the company after 25 years' service.

BMG today (September 7) issued a statement confirming his departure "to pursue other interests. "It is hard to leave Zomba after so long and so much success," comments Howard in a separate statement, "but I am excited about undertaking a new challenge which hopefully reflects the unique culture, fabric and spirit of Zomba that we created." Howard says it is too early to announce details of his future plans.

"With the imminent closure of the Zomba/Jive offices in Willesden, north London, and BMG's plans to further absorb Zomba Music into BMG Music at Putney, it is clear that Zomba will no longer remain a niche operation. Given this, I felt now was the time to move on,” Howard adds.

Meanwhile, Tim Smith has been appointed acting GM of both companies, with immediate effect. Smith has more than six years experience at Zomba Music Publishers, most recently as head of its creative department. Based in London, Smith reports to BMG Music Publishing U.K. group managing director Paul Curran.

Howard joined Zomba in 1979 as general professional manager. During his tenure, Howard signed and developed a host of major songwriters and artists including the Stone Roses, Billy Ocean, Joy Division, Womack & Womack, Daft Punk, and, most recently, rising British act the Delays.

As well as Mutt Lange, he worked closely with top pop songwriters such as Max Martin and his colleagues at Cheiron. Howard also oversaw Zomba's producer management division, which has represented Steve Power, Stephen Lipson and Rollo Armstrong.