Universal's Doug Morris Moves Over to Rival Sony Music

Will replace outgoing chief Rolf Schmidt-Holtz on July 1

Universal Music Group Chief Doug Morris has been named Chief Executive Officer of Sony Music, the company announced on Wednesday. 

His move to Sony, where he will replace outgoing head Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, had been rumored for months. 

He begins his new post on July 1, after Universal reportedly agreed to an early contract release for the top executive.  

"At this critical time in the evolution of the music industry, I can think of no one more qualified as a proven executive, an innovator, a music impresario and a statesman than Doug Morris," Sir Howard Stringer, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Sony Corporation, said in a statement.

Morris, 72, has rivaled with Sony for an ever dwindling share of the music dollar for over a decade.

He has been worldwide chairman and chief executive officer of UMG since 1995. UMG is the world's largest record company, with acts that include U2, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Justin Bieber. 

At Sony, he will oversee a crop of talent that boasts Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and the cast of "Glee." It also is home to the Michael Jackson catalogue, a bauble that continues to produce major revenue more than a year after the music star's death. 

The idea seems to be that Morris will exploit his rolodex of industry talents to grow the No. 2 record label's talent pool. 

Morris announced that he would step down from UMG in 2010, and was replaced Lucian Grainge as CEO in January of 2011. He remains chairman of UMG.