Epic eyes Anthony in Sony reshuffle

Polly Anthony, 550 Records prexy, is in talks to assume a larger role within Sony Music Entertainment, including the appointment as president of sister-label Epic Records.

The shift portends a significant restructuring of the exec ranks at both the label and Sony Music, sources said.

Top officials at Sony, including Sony Music Entertainment president and COO Tommy Mottola, declined comment about the series of changes likely to occur with the Anthony shuffle.

Sources said Anthony, who is also a senior veep for the Epic Records Group, has seen her stock rise considerably in the wake of the stratospheric success of 550 artist Celine Dion. She apparently has informed some colleagues that an ascension is in the works.

Dion’s “Falling Into You” is the bestselling album released in 1996 and has topped 23 million copies worldwide. Anthony is also behind the platinum-selling Ginuwine, whose 550 bow has logged more than 1.2 million copies.

Insiders said a deal with Anthony has been developing for several weeks, and is contingent on a number of factors taking place before it can be solidified.

The move would put a question mark on the future of Epic Records prexy Richard Griffiths.

The label wars vet has been the subject of considerable industry speculation for months — one rumor suggesting that Griffiths would segue to Virgin Records.

Sources said Griffiths, whose Epic label has had a number of potent successes, including discs from Oasis and Babyface, has been given the OK to test-drive offers from competitors. (Two years ago, Griffiths was the center of unrelated industry speculation that he was ankling the label, a move that Mottola took the unusual step of denying.)

The well-regarded Anthony, who bowed 550 from scratch in 1993 for Sony, also has very close ties to Mottola and Epic Records Group chairman Dave Glew. She was formerly a promotion exec and has been in the Sony and CBS (the precursor to Sony) record families since 1978.

Anthony was presented earlier this year with the prestigious “CEO Special Recognition Award,” becoming the second Sony Music Entertainment exec to nab the honor.

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