The Sony exec who oversaw the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing by a Sony/ATV-led consortium is to join Warner Music as Chief Operating Officer in January, it was revealed on Thursday.
Rob Wiesenthal was, until this year, CFO for Sony Corp Of America, and played a role in many of the big deals done by Sony’s entertainment companies, including the buying out of Bertelsmann from the SonyBMG record label joint venture in 2008, and more recently the expansion of the Sony/ATV music publishing business through the EMI purchase.
Shortly before the EMI acquisition was completed, and after Howard Stringer departed the top job at Sony Corp HQ in Japan kicking off an executive rejig at the conglom’s American company, Wiesenthal moved into a role within Sony/ATV itself, overseeing the publisher’s non-America/UK operations and, in particular, the integration of the Sony/ATV and EMI publishing businesses, which was complicated somewhat by the structure of the EMI deal (in that other investors were also involved).
In his new job as COO (Corporate) at the mini-major, Warner Music, Wiesenthal will report directly into CEO Stephen Cooper. It’s a new post that indicates firstly that Cooper wants more support at a corporate level now that he has taken on a more direct role in managing the Warner record companies following the departure of Lyor Cohen in September, and secondly that Warner may be planning a number of acquisitions in 2013 in a bid to boost its size (it now being dwarfed by its two rivals Sony and Universal). Ironically, Warner only this week lost out to BMG in the bidding for the EMI catalogues being sold by Wiesenthal’s current employer.
Confirming the new appointment, Warner boss Cooper said: “There are few media and technology executives of Rob’s stature and expertise. His commercial acumen, commitment to innovation and wide-ranging experience make him a suburb addition to our talented management team”.