Columbia Records President Ashley Newton Is Leaving Sony and Capitol-Bound: Sources

Greg Watermann
Ashley Newton

The veteran A&R executive is expected to join former colleague Steve Barnett at the label's Hollywood tower.

Among the topics discussed by Sony Music executives at a company meeting over the weekend: the impending exit of Columbia Records president Ashley Newton, sources tell Billboard

According to insiders with knowledge of the veteran A&R man's plans, Newton is headed to Capitol Music Group, where chairman Steve Barnett awaits his arrival at the company's Hollywood tower with open arms. Newton is expected to hold a dual title of CMG president and evp of creative/special Projects for Universal Music Group. The timetable is still unclear.

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The two Brits go back decades and worked together during Barnett's own Sony days (Barnett served in various roles at Epic Records -- including president -- from 1996 to 2004, then moved over to Columbia as chairman), specifically on projects like Adele. More recently, Newton played a key role in Jeff Lynne's soon-to-be-released album under the Electric Light Orchestra banner, All Alone in the Universe, due out Nov. 13.

The Los Angeles-based Newton previously held A&R stints at RCA Records, Virgin Records U.K., has worked closely with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams, and got his start at Island Records under industry legend Chris Blackwell.

A CMG rep declined comment. Sony Music did not respond to Billboard's request for comment.