In the wake of former Columbia Records co-chairman-COO Steve Barnett’s exit, former Universal Republic Records exec Joel Klaiman has joined Columbia as executive vp-GM.

Klaiman’s arrival will help fill an executive vacuum at the top of the label created by the departure of Barnett, who ankled the Sony Music Entertainment label last month for Universal Music Group’s newly minted Capitol Music Group (Daily Variety, Nov. 27).

Columbia chairman-CEO Rob Stringer said in a statement, “We are thrilled to have someone of Joel’s high caliber and experience join our team in a very important role. His winning mentality will help take the Columbia label to even greater heights.”

A veteran promotion exec, Klaiman had served as executive vp of promotion and artist development at Universal Republic since 2006. Among the acts he helped break at the label were Amy Winehouse, Florence & the Machine, Taylor Swift, Gotye, Nicki Minaj, the Band Perry, Alex Clare, Of Monsters and Men and Psy.

The Columbia appointment marks a return for Klaiman, who spent many years at other Sony imprints. He held senior promotion roles at Epic Records Group and Sony 550 Music from 1996-2006, rising to executive vp of promotion at Epic.

He was previously senior director of alternative promotion at Elektra. He began his career in 1990 as a manager at Frank DiLeo Management, the company run by Michael Jackson’s late manager.