Stewart, Baker, O'Connor Latest To Leave Atlantic

Atlantic Records continues to trim its staff and its artist roster, with Rod Stewart, Anita Baker, and Sinead O'Connor being the latest to exit the label. As previously reported, Collective Soul, Tori

Atlantic Records continues to trim its staff and its artist roster, with Rod Stewart, Anita Baker, and Sinead O'Connor being the latest to exit the label. As previously reported, Collective Soul, Tori Amos, and Poe all recently ended their association with the label.

"We think after 100 years, most of them terrific, with the WEA [Warner-Elektra-Atlantic] family, it might be fun to go to a new foster home and there are some great mommies and daddies out there," Stewart's longtime manager Arnold Stiefel tells Billboard for the Dec. 8 issue.

Stewart had put out his last studio album, "Human," through Atlantic instead of longtime home Warner Bros. A Nov. 13 Warner Bros. compilation, "The Very Best of Rod Stewart," fulfilled Stewart's contract to Warner Bros., the label for which he recorded for 25 years.

O'Connor's 2000 album "Faith and Courage" was her first and only release through Atlantic, following four albums issued by Ensign/Chrysalis. Baker had yet to release an Atlantic project. Her last studio release was 1994's Elektra set "Rhythm of Love."

The artist moves come amidst an ongoing restructuring at Atlantic Records, where the company has just laid off approximately 20 staffers from its New York and Los Angeles offices. Part of the layoff was the result of the closure of Atlantic's Division One imprint, whose releases this year included the Webb Brothers' "Maroon."

According to a statement from the Atlantic Group, "the staff changes that we have made in recent days have been minimal. We are always reviewing and fine-tuning the way we do business, in response to a wide variety of factors, but above all to ensure that we remain at the top of our game, working both as creatively and as efficiently as possible in the ever-changing music marketplace." A source says "less than" 20 employees were let go.