Lazarus Serobe has been appointed managing director of the Gallo Music Group, with effect from today.

Serobe succeeds current Gallo Music Group MD Ivor Haarburger, who is due to retire at the end of July.

This is not Serobe's first high-profile position in the domestic music industry. The former Gallo business affairs head became the first black MD of a major label in South Africa when he was appointed in March 2001 to run Sony Music Entertainment South Africa.

In 2004, he became chief executive of Heita! Records when Sony and BMG merged. However, in February 2006, his share in the joint venture was bought by Sony BMG Africa and Serobe took up the position of executive head of mobile entertainment at Vodacom, South Africa's biggest mobile phone company.

Serobe's role as Gallo MD will see him oversee a group that gathers Ladysmith Black Mambazo's label home Gallo Record Company and Gallo Music Publishing among its entities.

The group, which comes under the umbrella of Johannesburg-based media and entertainment company Avusa Ltd, is also home to Warner Music International's joint venture Warner Music Gallo Africa, created in May 2007.