Universal CEO in Talks to Join Rival Sony

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Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris, who is planning to step down from the job at the end of the year, is talking to rival Sony about replacing the head of its high-profile music division, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Morris has a lucrative $10 million contract that runs through January 2013 and there are calls for him to stay on as chairman after he relinquishes the CEO title.It is unclear the extent to which Universal is prepared to enforce the provisions of his contract.

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A source said it was unlikely that Morris, who has been talking to Sony Corp. CEO Howard Stringer about taking the reins of Sony Music Entertainment, would leave before the end of the year.

Morris, 72, had been at the helm of Universal Music for 15 years before the record giant tapped its international chief, Lucian Grainge, as his successor earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Sony's search for a music chief to replace Schmidt-Holtz, who is expected to retire early next year, seems to have triggered a game of musical chairs.

On Tuesday, the news came out that Barry Weiss, the head of Sony Music Entertainment's RCA/Jive division, is jumping to Universal Music.

Weiss -- the music impresario behind the rise of stars such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears -- was considered a contender for the top music job at Sony.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/sony_universal_do_the_exec_swap_4zensRsAl4R5yiq7XMsi9H