L.A. Reid is out as chairman/CEO of Epic Records after nearly six years at the helm of the Sony-owned label, Billboard has confirmed.
The move comes just weeks after former Columbia Records chief Rob Stringer assumed his new role as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in April. Reid has overseen a successful run in recent years at Epic, with back-to-back No. 1 albums in 2017 already, both from Future, and chart-topping LPs from Future, DJ Khaled, Travi$ Scott and a reunited A Tribe Called Quest in 2016. Khaled’s “I’m The One,” which features Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber and Quavo is currently the No. 1 song on the Hot 100.
The story was first reported by Variety. So far, there’s no indication as to who will be taking over the reins of Epic moving forward, or what Reid’s next move will be, though sources tell Billboard he will be exiting the company entirely. Av reasoning for Reid’s exit, particularly amid a recent run of success, was not given. Reps for Sony Music declined to comment.
Reid, 60, was the only current black label CEO at the three major record companies, and had rebuilt Epic into a high-profile generator of pop and urban-leaning hits, from artists such as Meghan Trainor, Future, Fifth Harmony, Travi$ Scott and DJ Khaled, who currently has the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2016, Reid relocated the label from New York to Los Angeles, and into new Culver City headquarters. Sony confirmed in a one-sentence press release Saturday that Reid had left the company — two days after his exit – but declined to comment further.
Reid, a three-time Grammy winner, first made his imprint in the music business as the drummer of the ‘80s R&B band The Deele, which charted such hits as “Body Talk” and “Two Occasions.” He and fellow group member/guitarist Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds left The Deele to establish LaFace Records in 1989.