British music giant EMI Group is shaking up its Virgin Records label, tapping veteran Larry Mestel to take over as general manager, sources said.
The move comes as EMI is pushing to bolster the performance of the New York-based unit, which last year ranked last in market share among the major labels. The company began taking steps this year to oust Virgin's president, Roy Lott.
No announcement has been made, but sources said Lott, who has about two years left on his contract, has moved to Los Angeles and no longer participates in the label's daily business.
An EMI spokeswoman said Tuesday that Lott "is still a Virgin employee. His status has not changed."
Mestel will report to Virgin Chairman Matt Serletic. He previously worked as executive vice president of rival Arista Records, a division of music giant BMG.
The shift is part of a broader reorganization at EMI, which last month announced that it would exit the CD manufacturing business in the United States and Europe and slash its artist roster by about 20%.
Virgin is enjoying its biggest potential hit in months with the arrival of Janet Jackson's "Damita Jo" album, which was released March 30 and is expected to continue to do well.