NBC President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Lack, with a long background in TV news, was appointed chairman and chief executive officer of the Sony Music Entertainment unit on Friday, replacing legendary Tommy Mottola, who quit the day before.
NBC confirmed that Lack is stepping down as president and chief operating officer and that there are no plans to replace him. His direct reports will now go directly to NBC Chairman and CEO Bob Wright.
While his new job came as a surprise, his departure from NBC didn't. Lack is leaving NBC after months of speculation that he clashed frequently with Wright.
Indeed, it's understood that Lack was promoted to the COO job in June 2001 at the insistence of then-GE Chairman Jack Welch, who wanted a succession plan in place for the day, eventually, when CEO Wright retires.
In a statement, Wright praised Lack: "Andy has made significant contributions to NBC's success over the last decade, particularly in leading our news organization to a preeminent industry position. He is a talented leader, and I'm sure he will do well in his new role."
Those direct reports now dialing into Wright include Jeff Zucker, head of West Coast operations; Randy Falco, NBC Television Network president; and Neal Shapiro, news president. Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, had previously reported directly to Wright.
NBC sources strenuously denied a report that Zucker would be given the news division but did confirm that Telemundo, NBC's newly acquired Spanish-language network would start reporting directly to him. Recently acquired Bravo already reports to him.
At Sony, Lack follows Tommy Mottola, who pushed the careers of such rock artists as Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and his ex-wife Mariah Carey. He quit to start his own record label as revenues and share of market at Sony Music have declined over the past year.
Lack, 55, has spent just about his entire career in the broadcasting business, first at CBS (1976-93) and for the past 10 years at NBC, where he was president of NBC News before being elevated to company president.
Lack has no music experience but has known Sony Corporation of America President Howard Stringer (to whom he will report) since they worked together at CBS News, where Stringer rose from producer to president before taking on broader corporate duties.
Stringer said Lack is "equally adept at business, management, strategy and value creation, as well as a consummate and proven developer of content, talent and ideas. His skills and energy will be of enormous value as we move to transform our music business in this most challenging time for that industry."