The IFPI confirmed today that John Kennedy will succeed Jay Berman as chairman/CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2005. Kennedy will join the trade group Oct. 1, allowing for a three-month transition before Berma

The IFPI confirmed today that John Kennedy will succeed Jay Berman as chairman/CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2005. Kennedy will join the trade group Oct. 1, allowing for a three-month transition before Berman's departure in December. The news was first tipped in Billboard.biz.

Berman tells Billboard.biz he initially came to London from his native America to head the IFPI for two years. He has stayed for six. "Three years ago, we agreed with the board that I would find someone to replace me, and that I was going to be based in New York in 2005," he says. "If we had not found someone, I would have run IFPI from New York, even if it would have not been ideal. We were extremely fortunate that John Kennedy was available, and we took advantage of that situation."

Berman says the board's choice of Kennedy was "more than unanimous." "He's just the right person," he adds.

Kennedy participated on the IFPI's main board and chaired the European regional board from 2002 until earlier this year.

Until last February, Kennedy was president/COO of Universal Music International, and was a member of IFPI's executive committee for Europe. Prior to that, he was chairman of Universal Music U.K. and a respected entertainment lawyer.

"These are very challenging times for the music industry, but I believe the industry has the creativity, ability and determination to deal with its problems, and I am looking forward to the job that needs to be done," says Kennedy in a statement. "I am inheriting IFPI in wonderful shape thanks to the tremendous leadership that Jay Berman has demonstrated over the last six years."