L.A. Reid is out as chairman/CEO of Epic Records after nearly six years at the helm of the Sony-owned label, Billboard has confirmed. The move comes just weeks after former Columbia Records chief Rob Stringer assumed his new role as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in April.
Reid has overseen a successful run in recent years at Epic, with back-to-back No. 1 albums in 2017 already, both from Future, and chart-topping LPs from Future, DJ Khaled, Travi$ Scott and a reunited A Tribe Called Quest in 2016. Khaled’s “I’m The One,” which features Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber and Quavo is currently the No. 1 song on the Hot 100. The story was first reported by Variety.
So far, there’s no indication as to who will be taking over the reins of Epic moving forward, or what Reid’s next move will be, though sources tell Billboard he will be exiting the company entirely. A reasoning for Reid’s exit, particularly amid a recent run of success, was not given. Reps for Sony Music declined to comment.
Reid arrived at Epic in the summer of 2011, having been brought to the company by then-newly-appointed Sony Music Entertainment boss Doug Morris. The two had worked together for several years at Universal Music Group, where Morris was head of UMG and Reid chairman of Island Def Jam, before reuniting at Sony.
In recent years, Reid has worked to turn around Epic’s roster, having brought Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony and Mariah Carey into the label, and bolstering his hip-hop roster by signing Scott, Future, Khaled, Tribe, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, French Montana and Diddy‘s Bad Boy Records in recent years.
Reid first made his name as a label executive with LaFace Records, which he co-founded in the late 1980s alongside Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds as a joint venture with Arista. The label had a sterling run through the 1990s with OutKast, Goodie Mob, Toni Braxton and TLC, among a slew of others, before LaFace was absorbed by Arista in 2000.
It was at Arista that Reid helped release Usher‘s 2004 landmark LP Confessions, which has been certified diamond by the RIAA for selling 10 million copies in the U.S., and OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which won three Grammys at the 2004 ceremony and became the first album classified by the Recording Academy as a rap record to ever win the Grammy for Album of the Year.
Later in 2004, Reid jumped to IDJ, where he worked extensively with Rihanna, Kanye West, Carey and Justin Bieber, and appointed Jay Z as president of Def Jam. He eventually left the company in early 2011, joining Simon Cowell‘s X Factor as a judge — a gig he later publicly derided as “the worst thing I’ve ever done” — before officially taking the top spot at Epic that summer.
This is a developing story.