Sony BMG Music Names COO

Times Staff Writer

Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Sunday that it had appointed Tim Bowen as chief operating officer.

Bowen previously oversaw much of the non-U.S. operations of Sony BMG, the nation’s second-largest music company.

The appointment of a new COO had been expected since last month, when Sony BMG’s uppermost ranks were shuffled after a leadership crisis.


In his new role, Bowen is expected to oversee most day-to-day operations, with direct responsibility for digital music, strategic marketing, international operations and other divisions.

The appointment, one of the first by newly named Sony BMG Chief Executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, is seen as part of an effort to heal a rift in the joint venture between Japan’s Sony Corp. and Germany’s Bertelsmann.

Bowen is succeeding Michael Smellie, whose departure last year set off a power struggle that lasted for months. After Smellie left, Bertelsmann pushed for the removal of Sony BMG Chief Executive Andrew Lack.

The dispute was resolved last month, when Lack was named Sony BMG’s nonexecutive chairman and then-Chairman Schmidt-Holtz, who is affiliated with Bertelsmann, was named to the CEO post.

Bowen joined BMG in 2002 and has worked closely with Schmidt-Holtz in directing the music company and on alliances that spawned the hit television show “American Idol.”

Prior to BMG, Bowen worked at Universal Music International and Sony Music Publishing International. In the 1980s he was managing director of Columbia Records, a Sony label.


Because of Bowen’s history with both Sony and BMG, the appointment is expected to be embraced by both sides of the company.

“There are very few people who feel like they are going to be excluded by this news,” said a Sony BMG executive who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of relations at the company.

“Everyone just wants things to calm down.”

Last week, Schmidt-Holtz named Don Ienner chairman of Sony Music Label Group U.S., adding to his duties as CEO of the label group.