In a leadership transition at the top of the music industry, Sony Music announced on Tuesday that Rob Stringer would take over next year as chief executive, while Doug Morris, the company’s chief since 2011, would become chairman.
Mr. Stringer, 54, is currently the head of Columbia Records, one of Sony’s flagship labels, and is known as a hands-on operator who pursues artist deals aggressively. During his tenure, Columbia has become the leading label by market share, with hit albums by Adele, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, One Direction and David Bowie. Mr. Stringer is the younger brother of Howard Stringer, the former chairman of the Sony Corporation.
Sony said that the change would come in April, when Mr. Stringer would take on operational responsibility for Sony’s labels, which in addition to Columbia include RCA, Epic, Sony Classical, Legacy, Masterworks and many others. In his new position Mr. Stringer is to report to Michael Lynton, the chief executive of Sony Entertainment. The company did not say who would take over at Columbia.
Sony is the world’s second-largest record company, after the Universal Music Group, with an estimated 23 percent of global market share. The change is a notably orderly one for Sony’s entertainment division, which two years ago was rocked by a computer breach that led to the departure of the head of the company’s film studio, Amy Pascal. Sony’s music division was largely spared in that cyberattack.
Mr. Morris, 77, who started his career in the 1960s as a songwriter, has been one of the reigning dons of the record business for decades. He came to Sony after more than a decade at the helm of Universal; in the 1990s he also ran the Warner Music Group. As one of the most powerful figures on the corporate side of the music business, Mr. Morris has frequently been cast as a villain for the music industry’s slow response to the digital revolution of the 2000s. But while at Universal he was a co-founder of Vevo, the industry’s online home for music videos, which gets more than 400 million views each month.
For the year that ended in March, Sony’s recorded music division had $5.5 billion in sales, and $773 million in operating income, according to company statements, and like other labels, it has had rapid growth in streaming income. In a statement, Mr. Lynton said that Mr. Morris “has expertly led Sony Music through some of the most transformative and challenging issues facing the music industry.”