Jeff Leeds of the New York Times reports that Rick Rubin, acclaimed for his work with artists as disparate as SLAYER, METALLICA, JAY-Z and JOHNNY CASH, has been offered a job as co-chairman of Columbia Records, associates said.But whether he can take the post, which would be his first in a senior executive role, hinges largely on his effort to negotiate an exit from an existing pact with a rival label, Warner Brothers Records. Warner has Mr. Rubin's own boutique label under contract for about three more years, said the associates, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. All the principals involved are trying to avoid a public showdown, and representatives for Warner, Columbia and Mr. Rubin declined to comment. As it stands, Mr. Rubin's associates said, any arrangement would still allow him to produce recordings for Warner artists. After initially displaying resistance to releasing Mr. Rubin, Warner appears prepared to negotiate an early end to its label deal with him, they said. Mr. Rubin holds certain bargaining chips too: in addition to future production projects, he has work under way for two of the label's biggest rock acts, LINKIN PARK and METALLICA. Read the entire article at New York Times.