Joel Klaiman is leaving Columbia Records, Variety has confirmed. A veteran promotion and marketing executive, he joined the label in 2012 and most recently served as executive VP and GM. Among his responsibilities, Klaiman oversaw the label’s marketing, digital marketing, promotion, publicity, branding, sync licensing, video production and content development departments.

Klaiman’s exit comes seven months after Ron Perry took the top job at the Sony Music label and in the wake of recent departures by senior VP of pop promotion Jon Borris, A&R executive Mark Williams and EVP of Marketing Doneen Lombardi. According to sources, Perry continues to restructure staff as he settles into his chairmanship, though Klaiman’s exit is said to be a “mutual parting.”

“Joel has been an integral and key part of the success of Columbia over the past 6 years,” said Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer. “He is a great executive and I know he will succeed in his next endeavor!”

Said Ron Perry: “I would like to thank Joel for his contributions to the Columbia team.  I wish him continued success in his next phase.”


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Klaiman was named to Variety‘s 2017 Hitmakers list for having played a key role in the success of James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” and the Chainsmokers’ “Paris” and “Something Just Like This” with Coldplay. Other successful projects with which he was involved include Adele’s “25,” David Bowie’s “Blackstar,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and One Direction’s last three albums.

Columbia was Klaiman’s second stint at Sony Music, having previously held senior promotion roles at Epic Records Group and Sony 550 Music from 1996 to 2006, rising to executive VP of promotion at Epic. He also spent six years at Republic as executive vp of promotion and artist development working with such acts as Amy Winehouse, Florence + the Machine, Taylor Swift, Gotye and more.

The major labels have seen a spate of EVP-level exits of late. On July 27, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Records executive VP and GM Peter Gray is leaving the company. Earlier in the month, Atlantic Records executive VP of Promotion John Boulos announced he was departing. Boris, as Variety reported in June, landed at Big Machine Label Group.

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