Maarten Steinkamp, president of Continental Europe for Sony BMG, is leaving the company, Billboard.biz can confirm.
Although representatives for Sony BMG would not response to calls from Billboard, insiders confirmed speculation which has been circulating the pan-European industry over the past few days. Steinkamp subsequently confirmed his departure exclusively to Billboard.biz.
He says: “I am indeed stepping down as President of Continental Europe.” Steinkamp declined to discuss his future plans, or the reasons behind the move.
A Sony BMG spokesman also declined to comment on Steinkamp’s departure. Sources, however, say that head of global marketing Richard Sanders will rise in his absence. In addition to his current duties, the heads of Germany, France, Italy and Spain will report directly to Sanders, while an as-yet unidentified executive will likely take charge of the other territories. It is unclear when Steinkamp plans to step aside.
A former journalist, Steinkamp had served with BMG for two decades, having joined BMG/Bertels in 1988. He has since worked in a multitude of international roles, including executive VP of BMG’s ASEAN region, and heading-up BMG International in New York prior to the record music company’s joint-venture with Sony in 2004.
News of his departure comes on the heels of persisting reports that Bertelsmann’s hierarchy are looking to sell-up its share in the Sony BMG JV. The joint venture agreement binding Sony Corp and Bertelsmann is due to expire in August 2009.
The German media group’s CEO Ostrowski recently upped the ante, when he said in March: “We might take over 100%, or sell our 50% to Sony so that they have 100% or we might continue the joint venture. All three outcomes are possible.”