After months of countless rumors and speculation surrounding
Jay-Z’s future position with Def Jam, Jay-Z has announced that he will step down as the President of Def Jam Records.

Jay released the
following statement today (December 24) that officially marks his resignation
from his current position as President when his contract expires at the end of 2007.

“I’ve been incredibly
fortunate to have served as President of such a culturally-defining label as
Def Jam over the last three years. During that time, I’ve had the pleasure of
working with many of the world’s most dynamic artists and many of the most dedicated
and talented executives in the music business today, including [IDJMG Chairman/
CEO] Antonio “L.A.” Reid. But now it’s time for me to take on new challenges.
am pleased to have had the opportunity to build upon the Def Jam legacy,
helping to move the company into a new era of artistic success.
” –

While Jay has
left his head job at Def Jam, he
will remain running (and recording for) his Roc-A-Fella
imprint, which is distributed by the Island
Def Jam Music Group
; headed by Chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who had the following to say about Jay’s decision…

“While we regret
his decision to move on, we certainly respect it. Since Jay joined us as
President of Def Jam in 2005, we have all benefited from his leadership, sense
of spirit and invaluable friendship. While he will continue to be one of our
signature artists, he will nonetheless be missed in this executive capacity.
The entire Island Def Jam family joins me in wishing him the very best in all
of his future business endeavors.” –

Jay-Z took over as President of Def Jam in 2005 and went on to sign former rival Nas. Jay also overlooked the release of hits from Ne-Yo, Rihanna, Kanye West and more; which earned 26 Grammy nominations for 2007.