Nicola Tuer Expected to Be Named Sony Music UK Interim CEO

Nicola Tuer is to be appointed interim head of Sony Music U.K. and Ireland, following Nick Gatfield’s surprise exit earlier this week from Britain’s second biggest label, according to sources close to the company.

Tuer previously occupied the post of executive vice president, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland – a position she has held since Nov. 2011 and which saw her report directly to Gatfield. Prior to this she was Sony Music SVP commercial sales, where she was responsible for merging the label’s commercial and sales divisions. A spokesperson for Sony Music U.K. declined to comment on speculation regarding Tuer’s appointment, although insiders say that her accession to interim CEO is likely to be completed within several days, with an announcement to follow early next week.

Sony Music U.K. revenues climbed 7.6% year-on-year to total £205 million ($342 million) for the 12 months ending March 31 2013, according to the latest records filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profits for the same period were also up on the previous 12 months, totaling £16.1 million ($26.9 million). 

News of Gatfield’s surprise exit first broke late on Wednesday 26 February, U.K. time. Gatfield, a former member of the popular 1980s British band Dexys Midnight Runners, only took up the post of Sony Music U.K. CEO and Chairman in July 2011, replacing Ged Doherty. Prior to joining Sony, Gatfield worked as EMI Music president of new music for North America and president of Universal Island Records.

Contrary to press reports, sources say Gatfield was not present when staff at Sony Music’s London headquarters were told of his surprise departure on Wednesday Feb. 26. U.K. newspaper the Telegraph reports that Gatfield was in contract negotiations with his Sony Music bosses prior to his exit.  

Sony Music U.K. declined to comment, other than that to state: “It was an amicable decision for Nick to leave the company at this time. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Gatfield’s tenure at the head of Sony Music’s U.K. division saw the company achieve huge global success with One Direction, who are signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco label, which is 50% owned by Sony Music. One Direction’s third studio album “Midnight Memories” topped the Billboard 200 December 2013, making One Direction the first group in the chart’s history to debut at No. 1 with its first three albums.

In addition to One Direction and fellow British “The X Factor” alumni Little Mix, Sony Music U.K. also scored domestic success over the past 2 years, with home-grown artists such Paloma Faith, Kasabian, Laura Mvula, Katy B, Kodaline, Labrinth and 2013 BRITs Critics’ Choice Winner Tom Odell. In his role as CEO and Chairman, Gatfield was additionally responsible for overseeing U.K. campaigns for Sony’s international roster, including recent releases from Daft Punk, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Kings of Leon, David Bowie and Britney Spears.