Sony chose Andrew Lack, NBC’s president and chief operating officer, to take the helm of its music division on Friday, a day after Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola resigned to start a new label.
The move was surprising, considering Lack has no experience in the music industry; a veteran newsman, he worked at CBS News from 1976 to 1993 before joining NBC News. He was named president of the entire network in May 2001.
“We are delighted that Andy will join Sony and lead our music company,” Howard Stringer, chairman of Sony Corp. of America, said in a statement.
“He is the most rare of senior entertainment executives, equally adept at business, management, strategy and value creation, as well as a consummate and proven developer of content, talent and ideas,” said Stringer, a former CBS News president who, like Lack, went on to become network president.
Stringer said Lack would help “transform our music business in this most challenging time for that industry.”
Mottola, who helped develop the careers of former wife Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and others, announced his resignation Thursday, departing amid declining revenues and a lower market share.
Sony enjoyed several high-profile, multiplatinum hits last year from such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Dion and the Dixie Chicks; it garnered numerous Grammy nominations on Tuesday.
But Sony is third among the five major music labels in terms of market share; it had 15.24 percent of the album market in 2002, a dip from 15.83 percent in 2001.
Mottola’s new label has not yet been named, but Sony is expected to be a partner.