Pan-European independent labels body IMPALA has unveiled its new management structure at MIDEM, promoting current secretary general Helen Smith to executive chair.

The trade body for European independent labels has also elected a triumvirate presidents: the incumbent Patrick Zelnik (president of French indei Naïve) is re-elected to the post, where he is joined by Michel Lambot, co-chairman of Brussels-based PIAS Entertainment Group, and Horst Weidenmülle, CEO of German indie !K7. Edel's Jonas Sjostrom remains treasurer.

Chairman Martin Mills, who also chairs London-based Beggars Group, has stepped down.

The IMPALA board has also reviewed its strategy and says it will adopt a new action plan to be published next month.

That plan will see it lobby the European Commission to adopt IMPALA's proposals around three key areas: a financial package for tax benefits, new investment measures and lower sales tax (V.A.T.), to ensure long term viability; a digital package with full ISP responsibility and measures to address Europe's slow digital take up; and a market access package with new competition guidelines and preferential treatment to allow independents to compete on their own merits.

At day one of MIDEM, IMPALA representatives had a private breakfast with European Commissioner for Culture Jan Figel, while Michel Lambot also highlighted IMPALA's priorities to national culture ministers during a lunch meeting.

"Having the opportunity of a private meeting with Mr Figel demonstrates the value that is placed on cultural SMEs [small-to-medium enterprises]," Lambot said in a statement. "Through continued action at European and national level we can achieve real progress."

In the statement, Figel added: "Cultural and creative SMEs are vital to Europe's innovation, diversity, growth and employment. It is important for me to be able to have direct dialogue with organisations such as IMPALA to better understand what market conditions music SMEs need in order to flourish. "

IMPALA has 4,000 members including leading independents and their national trade associations across Europe.

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