In March 2015, Malik announced he was leaving the group to pursue a solo career
, and Cowell signed the 23-year-old singer to RCA Records, which, like 1D's label Syco, is under Sony. "The boys hadn't bought into the fact that he was leaving
, so out of respect for them, it wasn't the right thing to put him on Syco," he explains. "What’s good for Zayn is good for us, good for the show and good for the brand."