Morris Shuffles Sony Pack

Sony Music chairman and chief exec Doug Morris has appointed Nick Gatfield to head the company’s British operations, prompting speculation he wants to reassemble his old Universal team.

Gatfield replaces Ged Doherty, who left the company July 20.

Morris left Universal after losing his chairman and chief exec roles to Lucian Grainge. He took up similar roles at Sony July 1.

Gatfield left the Vivendi-owned company after being passed over for the top job in the UK. Grainge preferred to appoint David Joseph.

One of Gatfield’s main tasks at Sony will be maintaining a good relationship with media mogul and celebrity Simon Cowell.

Cowell’s UK office is in Sony’s west London building and the music company has a 50 percent share in Syco, Cowell’s main music business vehicle.

Morris issued a statement describing Gatfield as “an accomplished music executive with a successful A&R background, strong senior management experience, and a special understanding of the artist community.”

Gatfield’s first role in the music business was playing saxophone and keyboards for Dexy’s Midnight Runners, playing on all their hits between 1982 and 1985.

New York-based Sony International head Richard Sanders also left the company July 20, but it won’t be easy for Morris to find his replacement among Universal’s ranks.

The two music giants have a “no-poaching” agreement that expires in January, but Morris looks keen to bring in new blood and may not be prepared to wait that long.