Exec is set for dual roles

Filling the gap left by the May departure of Sylvia Rhone, Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to senior VP of Motown Records.

Habtemariam is receiving a double-barreled boost: She has also been named exec VP-head of urban music for Universal Music Publishing Group. She was previously senior VP-head of urban music at Universal Music Group’s song arm.

Significantly, UMG also announced that Motown will now share Island Def Jam’s sales, marketing and distribution teams, attaining what is essentially boutique status within UMG. Label was reportedly scored by January layoffs at the major (Daily Variety, Jan. 24).

Habtemariam will be based in New York and L.A. and reports directly to Barry Weiss, Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown chairman-CEO.

Wednesday’s appointment represents a major changing of the guard at the famed Motown imprint.

Rhone ankled Universal Motown after seven years as prexy (Daily Variety, May 23). At the time it was said she was in talks for another role within UMG, but recent rumors have suggested she’s headed for a reunion with Doug Morris, Sony Music Entertainment CEO and former UMG topper, possibly as head of a revived Portrait imprint.

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