Sony BMG Italy is preparing to overhaul its top management.

With effect from Jan. 1, 2008, president and managing director Franco Cabrini will leave the company. Cabrini became head of Sony Italy in 1991. He was appointed to head Sony BMG after the 2004 merger, being preferred over his opposite number at BMG Ricordi, Adrian Berwick.

Cabrini's place will be taken by Rudy Zerbi, the Sony Label Group's current GM of A&R.

"I'm naturally honored. It will be a double challenge, not only succeeding a historic industry figure like Franco Cabrini, but also facing a market that is clearly in crisis," Zerbi tells Billboard.biz.

"I am convinced, however, that, by working with our colleagues abroad, we can find new and effective business models and strategies. Indeed we have already been discussing these as this change of guard has been planned for quite some time."

Massimo Bonelli, GM of the Sony Label Group, and Antonio Di Dio, senior
VP of human resources, legal and business affairs, are also expected to exit the company.

All four executives are currently based at Sony BMG Italy's Milan headquarters.