The Columbia Records co-chief has been a “costly adventure” for Sony, according to Friedman, in part because he moved Sony’s L.A. office from a modest locale to CAA’s old I.M. Pei-designed headquarters.

He also may have produced a hit album for Atlantic (Metallica) but hasn’t sparked sales at Columbia.

The last straw was allegedly recording tracks for U2 with rival Universal Music Group, only to have U2 reject the tracks. Rubin will be offloaded to a side label deal, sources told Friedman.