President/CEO will start new label venture.

Kedar Massenburg is exiting his post as president/CEO of Motown. According to inside sources, Massenburg -- who re-signed with the label last December -- will begin a new label venture that will leverage music with strong sponsorship and licensing opportunities.

During his tenure at Motown, Massenburg negotiated marketing alliances for Motown artists including Michael McDonald (MCI) and India.Arie (Gap).

Sources say that Massenburg is in talks with executives about keeping the new venture under the Universal umbrella.

With no immediate plans to replace Massenburg, Universal Motown Records Group chairman Mel Lewinter will now assist in Motown's day-to-day operations.

In the meantime, heavy rumors persist that Lewinter will retire this fall and be succeeded by former Elektra chairman Sylvia Rhone. Sources contend that while Rhone will join Universal, she won't be replacing Massenburg or Lewinter, who recently renewed his own contract. At the earliest, Rhone would join the company in the fall in a creative capacity that is still being determined.

Massenburg was appointed Motown president/CEO in 1998. Prior to that, he was a senior VP of Universal Records and CEO of Universal-distributed Kedar Entertainment, whose artist roster at the time included Erykah Badu and Chico DeBarge.