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Universal Music Group today announced that Barry Weiss is stepping down as chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam and Universal Motown Republic Group.

It has been reported that Weiss is renouncing his title as part of an initiative to revamp the company’s East Coast music operations. He is leaving after his former Sony colleague, Michele Anthony, was promoted to executive vice president of US recorded music.

As far as Weiss’ next move, the pop music vanguard, whose credits include cultivating giant acts such as Justin Timberlake and Usher, is in talks about embarking on a joint venture with UMG head honcho Lucian Grainge.

According to the New York Post, Weiss’ departure indicates the end of a management structure designed by record executive Lyor Cohen, who managed the group starting in 1998. Once Island Def Jam is disassembled, UMG will create three separate labels: Motown Records, Def Jam Records and Island Records.

Head of Urban Music, Ethiopia Habtemariam, will advance to president at Motown Records, while current president of Island Records, David Massey, continues to helm the label.

[Via NYP]

Photo: WENN