Merlin, the new rights body for the global independent sector, has appointed Bob Frank of U.S. indie Koch Records as its first chairman.

Frank was unanimously elected by his fellow board members and will hold the chairmanship for one year.

Merlin, unveiled at the Midem trade fair in January, was set up to ensure competitive terms for new and emerging media's usage of music in the independent sector.

"Merlin unites the independent sector in an unprecedented way," said Frank in a statement. "It gives us an increased ability to compete in the market, and to engage those companies that wish to exploit our rights, and to receive remuneration from those who may have already utilized our copyrights.

"We look forward to establishing many new partnerships as we pave the way for the independent sector to fully engage in the new music business economy. I am thrilled to take on this role and assist CEO Charles Caldas and the Merlin Board as we march forward."

In a statement, Caldas added, "Bob Frank is a recognized leader in the independent music sector, and the fact that he is providing Merlin with the benefit of his knowledge, passion and experience is testament both to the extraordinary group of people we have assembled on this vitally important project, and their force of will to see it succeed."

The board recently appointed Geoff Kulawick from Linus Entertainment/IDLA as a voting member and Lyette Bouchard from SOPROQ as an observer.

Merlin's completed board is as follows:

North America:

* Bob Frank, president Koch Records, U.S., Merlin chairman
* Kevin Arnold, founder and CEO IODA, U.S.
* Susan Ferris, founder and CEO Long Live Crime Records, U.S.
* Tom Silverman, chairman and CEO Tommy Boy Records, U.S.
* Geoff Kulawick, president Linus Entertainment, Canada

Europe:
* Stephan Bourdoiseau, president Wagram Music, France
* Michel Lambot, Co-President PIAS Group, Belgium
* Martin Mills, Chairman Beggars Group, U.K.
* Hein Van der Ree, managing director Epitaph Europe, Netherlands
* Horst Weidenm├╝ller, CEO !K7, Germany

Rest of the World:

* Mark Kneebone, president Tardus Music, New Zealand
* Clive Hardwick, director, BULA Music, South Africa
* Takashi Kamide, adviser, Columbia Music Entertainment, Japan
* Yongge Shen, founder and CEO, Zu Shu Entertainment, China
* Eduardo Muszkat, president MCD Entertainment, Brazil

The elected directors join the permanent directors: the president of WIN, currently Alison Wenham, and Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, who is a non-voting board member.

Observers:

US: Peter Wright, Virtual Label
Canada: Lyette Bouchard, Executive Director, SOPROQ
Europe: TBC
Rest of World: TBC