Mottola Leaves Sony

CEO oversaw the careers of Mariah, Pearl Jam

January 9, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Sony Music Entertainment chairman and CEO Tommy Mottola has left the company to start his own label. Sony released Mottola from the final two years of his contract, but his new company will be a partnership with Sony, but no further details of the venture were released.

Mottola founded and ran Champion Entertainment in the Eighties. After Sony's acquisition of CBS Records in 1988, Mottola took the Sony helm and guided the company through some of its most profitable years. Among his best-known achievements was the acquisition of a demo tape by a then-unknown Mariah Carey. Mottola signed the singer and helped launch her towards super-stardom. Mottola and Carey were wed in 1993, and divorced five years later.

During the Nineties, Mottola oversaw the development of numerous artists including Pearl Jam and Jennifer Lopez. He was also responsible for nurturing the large roster of established Sony talent, which included Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson. Mottola's name reached newspaper headlines again last year when Jackson charged him with being a racist and sabotaging his 2002 release, Invincible.

As with the rest of the music industry, Sony has suffered sales slides of late, a reported $140 million according to The Wall Street Journal over the past year.

"I have been thinking about taking up this new challenge for about a year, and really made the decision to go forward only recently," Mottola said in a statement. "I am thrilled that I will continue my long-standing relationship with Sony to create a company that I believe will become a blueprint for the music business in the coming years."

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