Sony Music Entertainment
Critics cackled last year about Sony Corp.’s choice of septuagenarian Doug Morris as CEO of the second-largest major-label group. But what those naysayers failed to realize is that Morris still has fire in his belly, with something yet to prove: that Vivendi made a mistake in imposing a retirement transition plan on him before he was ready to go. Just two months after Lucian Grainge (see No. 3) assumed day-to-day control of Universal Music Group on Jan. 1, 2011, Sony Music-UMG’s fiercest rival-announced that Morris would become its new CEO effective July 1, 2011. Since taking the top spot at Sony, Morris has appointed Antonio “L.A.” Reid (No. 37) as chairman/CEO of Epic Records and promoted veteran A&R executive Peter Edge (No. 41) to CEO of RCA Music Group. But his boldest move so far may have been convincing superstar songwriter/producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald (No. 30) to bring his Kemosabe label to Sony. Sony’s U.S. market share reached 28.4% in 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan, only about two percentage points behind UMG. While that gap will widen once UMG completes its acquisition of EMI Music, count on Morris to keep things interesting. In his long, storied career, there is one thing he’s never failed at: delivering hits.
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