Sony taps Reid as Epic Records topper

Veteran music exec will help shepherd artists from Fox's 'X Factor'

Confirming what the music industry has chattered about for months, Sony Music Entertainment on Monday named Antonio “L.A.” Reid as chairman-CEO of Epic Records.

Epic was believed to be Reid’s ultimate destination since the veteran exec ankled the chairmanship of Universal’s Island Def Jam Music Group this spring. With the announcement that Doug Morris was segueing to SME as CEO, many thought Reid’s arrival there was signalled.

Reid will report to Morris and oversee the day-to-day operations at Epic, which reportedly will merge ops with another Sony division, Jive Records. Jive was previously the domain of chairman-CEO Barry Weiss, who shifted to Universal earlier this year to head Island Def Jam and Universal Motown Republic.

Morris noted in a statement, “L.A. repeatedly has proven over the course of his celebrated career that he knows how to develop world-class artistry.”

Reid succeeds songwriter Amanda Ghost, who exited as prexy of Epic in October after a rocky 18-month tenure at the company (Daily Variety, Oct. 28).

The arrival of Reid at Epic is a prelude to his debut as a TV personality: This fall, he will join Simon Cowell as a judge on “The X Factor,” the former “American Idol” host’s new Fox singing-competition show. Epic has the right to pick up select artists developed from the “X Factor” franchise.

Reid topped IDJ from 2004-11. He quarterbacked the revival of Mariah Carey’s career with her 2005 album “The Emancipation of Mimi” and oversaw the development of such acts as Kanye West, Rihanna and Justin Bieber.

He had previously served as president of Arista Records, where he signed Pink, and was formerly a partner in LaFace Records with fellow producer-songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, with whom he worked in the Atlanta group the Deele. LaFace’s bestselling acts included Usher.

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