In his new role Gatfield, who only joined Sony in February as president of the music division, will report directly to Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris.
Morris described the former EMI Music president of new music for north America as "an accomplished music executive with a successful A&R background, strong senior management experience, and a special understanding of the artist community."
Gatfield, who also held down the president of Universal Island Records brief until 2008, said he was delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the UK company. "I look forward to working with the team to build Sony Music UK & Ireland into the leading music entertainment company in the market," said the former Dexy's Midnight Runners keyboardist.
Sony has had a number of top level changes of late with Phonogenic taking over the management of Epic Records following the departure of the well respected Nick Raphael to Universal.
Many believed Raphael's move was in response to the hiring of Gatfield.
As EMI Music's president of new music for North America from 2008 to September 2010, Gatfield was responsible for breakthrough artists such as Tinie Tempah, Eliza Doolittle, Deadmau5 and Swedish House Mafia.
At Island he worked with such artists as Amy Winehouse, Keane, Mika, The Fratellis, McFly, Busted, Sugababes, The Feeling, Robyn and Taio Cruz. ]
Gatfield, who has also held senior roles at Polydor, started his career at EMI in 1985, becoming A&R director in 1987 (the youngest director in EMI's history). During this time he oversaw the signings of all EMI's labels, which included artists such as Radiohead and Blur.