Universal Music Germany chairman/CEO Tim Renner is to quit the Berlin-based company at the end of January, according to a statement issued this morning.

Universal Music Germany chairman/CEO Tim Renner is to quit the Berlin-based company at the end of January, according to a statement issued this morning.

London-based Universal Music International (UMI) chairman/CEO Jorgen Larsen will assume Renner's responsibilities until a successor is appointed in the second half of the year. Universal Music Germany president Vico Antippas will continue in his current role. In its statement, UMI says that the deteriorating situation in the German market is forcing the company to make "substantial savings in all areas of the business."

Renner's departure follows discussions with Larsen over the company's strategic direction in the German music market. Renner says opinions differed on local artist development. In the wake of Renner's departure, the company will refocus its strategy on developing mainstream artists.

"I sincerely believe that the market also needs repertoire from scenes and niches in order to develop credible content," Renner says. "Although the music market has declined dramatically, we managed to increase our sales of German artists contrary to the market trend."

Renner, the founder of Motor Music, was appointed chairman of Universal Music Germany in October 2001. He played a pivotal role in the company's relocation to Berlin from its longtime Hamburg base in 2002. Renner originally joined Universal's predecessor PolyGram in 1986.

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