Maarten Steinkamp confirms Sony BMG exit

Will step down as president of Continental Europe

LONDON -- Maarten Steinkamp, president of Continental Europe for Sony BMG, is leaving the company.

Although representatives for Sony BMG would not response to calls from Billboard, insiders confirmed speculation that has been circulating the pan-European industry in the past few days. Steinkamp subsequently confirmed his departure exclusively to Billboard.biz.

He says: "I am indeed stepping down as president of Continental Europe." Steinkamp declined to discuss his plans or the reasons behind the move.

A Sony BMG spokesman declined comment on Steinkamp's departure, or on rumblings that head of global marketing Richard Sanders was likely to rise in his absence.

A former journalist, Steinkamp had served with BMG for two decades, having joined BMG/Bertels in 1988. He has since worked in a multitude of international roles, including executive vp of BMG's ASEAN region, and heading up BMG International in New York before the record music company's joint-venture with Sony in 2004.

News of his departure comes on the heels of persisting reports that Bertelsmann's hierarchy are looking to sell-up its share in the Sony BMG JV. The joint venture agreement binding Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann is set to expire in August 2009.

The German media group's CEO Ostrowski recently upped the ante, when he said in March: "We might take over 100%, or sell our 50% to Sony so that they have 100% or we might continue the joint venture. All three outcomes are possible."
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