Thomas Stein, Munich-based president of BMG for Germany/Switzerland/Austria, has split from the major. New York-based Maarten Steinkamp, president of BMG International, will temporarily oversee Stein'

Thomas Stein, Munich-based president of BMG for Germany/Switzerland/Austria, has split from the major. New York-based Maarten Steinkamp, president of BMG International, will temporarily oversee Stein's management team.

The BMG veteran Stein becomes the second significant casualty of the company's executive reshuffle during the past week. In the U.S. on Tuesday, BMG COO Michael Smellie was appointed to fill the void left by Antonio "L.A." Reid's sudden departure from Arista Records, where he was president/CEO. The changing of the guard on both sides of the Atlantic foreshadows anticipated approval of BMG's merger with Sony Music.

In a statement issued this morning, BMG chairman/CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz describes Stein as "an outstanding leader in the European music community."

Stein was named president BMG G/S/A in January 2003 as part of a realignment of the company's global structure. At the time, some industry observers suggested that the change in role, from his long-held previous post as BMG Europe president, might be seen as a demotion. His exit is the second departure of a high profile German executive in as many days. Yesterday, Universal Music Germany chairman Tim Renner announced he would quit that company at the end of the month.