Mercury Prize Founder Jon Webster Steps Down as Music Managers Forum President

John Marshall JM Enternational/Invision/AP
Jon Webster at the Artist and Manager Awards at the Troxy on Nov. 27, 2012 in London.

Jon Webster has announced that he's stepping down as president of the Music Managers Forum (MMF) after almost 10 years involvement with the London-based organization, which represents and lobbies on behalf of over 500 artist managers in the U.K.

The role of MMF president was one specially created for Webster and there are no plans to appoint a successor, a spokesman confirmed.

Webster was appointed MMF CEO in 2007, having previously held posts as BPI Director of Independent Services and ran his own artist management company, the Clancy Webster Partnership.

The long-serving exec began his career as a record shop assistant, before joining Virgin Records as sales manager in 1981 and rising to become managing director seven years later. During his time at the label, Webster helped devise and launch the Now! That's What I Call Music compilation series in 1983.

After leaving Virgin in 1992, Webster continued to work closely with a number of acts including GenesisPeter Gabriel and UB40 as an international marketing consultant. The early Nineties also saw him found the Mercury Music Prize as an alternative to the industry-run Brit Awards.

"Much of the MMF's current success and vitality must be attributed to Jon, said the trade body's CEO, Annabella Coldrick in a statement. Under his leadership, the organization had "gained a hard-fought reputation as a body that stands up for artist rights and promotes greater education and transparency throughout the music business," she continued.

There are few people with his overall understanding of our business, or who have worked so tirelessly to benefit the wider music community," added MMF co-chair and Deluxxe Management owner Diane Wagg, who called Webster a "music industry legend."

Manager and fellow MMF co-chair Stephen Budd also paid tribute, saying that Webster gave the MMF a "voice that continues to be respected across the music business, within the tech sector and within government." 

"I am very proud of what we have achieved in the last 10 years although there is still much to do particularly in the area of transparency and fairness for artists and managers," reflected Webster, who said he was leaving to pursue a number of external projects, including completion of a book about his time at Virgin Records.

"I am very happy to leave the MMF in the capable hands of the team and the Board," he stated, adding, "I will try to be available if a temporary extra pair of hands is ever needed as the MMF holds a significant place in my heart."