In the ongoing tit-for-tat executive shuffle between Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, Joel Klaiman is being named Columbia Records executive VP/GM.
The news was first reported by Hits and later confirmed by reliable sources to Billboard.biz.
In a way, it looks like Klaiman will help fill a void left by the pending departure of Columbia Records co-chairman/COO Steve Barnett, who sources say will become the head of the Capitol Records Group after his Columbia contract expires. The contract reportedly ends on March 30. In the meantime, Barnett has left the Sony building, according to sources.
Sources also say that Columbia co-chairman/CEO Rob Stringer has no intention of replacing Barnett, but that doesn't mean he won't divide up some of his responsibilities among other senior staffers, including Klaiman, who in addition to becoming GM will oversee the label's promotion staff.
The two-way street between Sony and UMG began when Doug Morris was hired away from UMG to run Sony, where he currently is CEO, in 2010. UMG appeared to retaliate by hiring RCA/Jive Label Group chairman/CEO Barry Weiss to become chairman/CEO of the Island Def Jam Music Group and Republic Records Group.
Columbia declined to comment and UMG was unavailable for comment at deadline.