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Executive Turntable: Beasley Elected Chairman of BMI Board; Reservoir Deepens Creative Team

A rundown of music industry hires and promotions at Reservoir, Bell Media, Spirit Music Group and more.

BMI has announced the election of Caroline Beasley as the performing rights organization’s new chairman of its board of directors, effective immediately. Beasley, the CEO of Beasley Media Group, joined the board in 2014 and was most recently vice chairman. She succeeds Michael J. Fiorile, who has moved over to presiding director of the board.

The PRO also announced that six members of the board have been re-elected to three-year terms: Greg Ashlock (iHeartMedia Markets Group); Rebecca Campbell (The Walt Disney Company); Dave Lougee (TEGNA, Inc.); Mike O’Neill (BMI); Mark Pedowitz (The CW Network); and Perry Sook (Nexstar Media Group, Inc).

“Many thanks to Michael Fiorile for his innovative vision, tireless collaboration and insightful leadership over the past several years in his role as Chairman of the organization,” commented Beasley. “I look forward to working together with the Board, Mike O’Neill and the outstanding BMI team to continue to serve the evolving needs of music creators, publishers and licensees in today’s dynamic marketplace.”

In addition, the BMI board has extended Mike O’Neill‘s contract as president & CEO for six years, through the end of 2026.

“BMI has achieved groundbreaking success under Mike’s leadership,” said Fiorile. “During his tenure, the Company set revenue and distribution records year after year, while making significant strides to protect copyright and safeguard the value of music. I, along with our Board of Directors, have no doubt that Mike is the right person to continue to lead the charge towards a modernized music licensing landscape that will benefit everyone involved.”

Reservoir has expanded its creative team with a number of new hires and promotions.

Donna Caseine has been promoted to executive vp – global creative director, upping her from her former position as executive vp creative and A&R. In her new role, Caseine – who has been with the company since 2016 – will offer global leadership to Reservoir’s creative staff while providing strategic oversight of the company’s creative and roster direction. She will continue overseeing the development of talent including Ali Tamposi, James Fauntleroy and Illenium.

Annette Barrett has been promoted to managing director & global strategic liaison. Since Reservoir’s acquisition of Reverb Music – where Barrett has been managing director since 2001 – her role was expanded to include pursuing intercontinental opportunities for the Reservoir roster. She was elected president and chair of the board of International Music Publishers Forum this year.

Faith Newman has been promoted to executive vp, A&R and catalog development. Since joining Reservoir in 2011, Newman has brought 2 Chainz, Migos, Young Thug, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Twysted Genius to the company’s roster. She leads Reservoir’s pursuit of legacy catalogs and recently brought the catalogs of The Isley Brothers, Hoagy Carmichael and the Commodores to the company.

David Hoffman has been hired as vp of A&R and marketing. He joins Reservoir following the company’s acquisition of the catalog of Shapiro Bernstein, where he spent over 18 years and signed and developed talent including Joywave, Photay, Sego and Savoir Adore while attending to the catalogs of David Guetta, Serge Gainsbourg, Dorothy Fields, Air and others.

Bell Group president and vice chair Wade Oosterman will assume operational leadership of the company’s content creation arm Bell Media in 2021 following the departure of current Bell Media president Randy Lennox on Jan. 4, 2021.

Lennox joined Bell Media as president of content and broadcasting in 2015 and was named Bell Media president in 2017, reporting directly to Oosterman. Prior to Bell Media, Lennox was president and CEO of Universal Music Canada, where he helped launch the careers of Justin Bieber, Drake, Shawn Mendes and The Tragically Hip. He is currently chair of the Banff World Media Festival and serves on the boards of Music Canada, Canada’s Walk of Fame, Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall and Ontario’s Culture Strategy Advisory Group. He is additionally a member of the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame and a Juno Awards winner.

“On behalf of everyone at Bell, I would like to thank Randy for his leadership at Bell Media and his support of a smooth leadership transition in 2021,” said BCE and Bell Canada president and CEO Mirko Bibic, adding that Lennox, during his tenure, “reignited Crave and our other digital platforms, accelerated Canadian content creation with strategic investments, including the Noovo network in Québec and Pinewood Studios Toronto, and built exclusive partnerships with top international content brands like HBO Max, Starz and iHeartRadio.”

Oosterman was hired as president of Bell Mobility and chief brand officer in 2006; he was later promoted to president of mobility and residential services in 2010, to group president in 2015 and to vice chair in 2018. He has served as a senior wireless and brand executive with a number of publicly traded Canadian communications companies and serves on the boards of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Telephone & Data Systems.

Bibic added of Oosterman, “Already guiding overall Media strategy as Group President, Wade is known for building outstanding teams and delivering results across every segment of communications. Having also led our Mobility and Residential Services teams in his 14 years at Bell, Wade is exceptionally well positioned to leverage all of Bell’s assets to accelerate our leadership in media and TV.”

Also elevated was Devorah Lithwick, who has been promoted to senior vp & chief brand officer, taking over the latter role from Oosterman in January. Lithwick joined the company in 2006 as vp brand; she was promoted to senior vp in 2017.

Spirit Music Group has restructured its synch team, naming Amy Hartman as senior vp creative services and promoting several others.

Hartman has over 20 years of experience in creative sync licensing, most recently at Roc Nation, where she was senior vp, creative sync licensing for film/TV & advertising. During her tenure there, she pitched and earned placements for Roc Nation’s label group, publishing division and management clients and led sync placements across all mediums. Prior to that, she was vp of film & TV creative sync at Island, Def Jam and Republic Records at Universal Music Group. She will be based out of Spirit’s Los Angeles offices and jointly report to president Rak Sanghvi and COO/CFO Joe Borrino.

Elsewhere, Jason Rezvan has been upped to vp, advertising. Previously director of advertising, Rezvan has been with Spirit since 2012. He has lent key assists in placements for brands including Google, DICK’s Sporting Goods, Sainsbury’s and Apple, as well as several studio and independent films. He will report to Hartman.

Tamar Dayanim has been promoted to manager, digital marketing & strategy. Dayanim was most recently creative coordinator who worked with the sync department on audio management, client relations and marketing services. In her new role, she will be an instrumental part of all things digital including partner relations, strategic planning and new business opportunities. She will additionally work closely with Spirit’s A&R teams to maximize opportunities on music and video platforms and coordinate content for Spirit websites, social platforms and film/TV samplers.

BMG has named Katie Kerkhover senior director, creative of its publishing team in Nashville.

Kerkhover will be tasked with overseeing BMG’s Nashville publishing roster, which includes Scooter Carusoe, Ben Goldsmith, James Slater and Wynn Varble. She will also sign and develop new songwriters and artists while reporting directly to senior vp creative Chris Oglesby.

Kerkhover joins BMG from Sony/ATV, where as creative manager she pitched songs, managed songwriter schedules and signed new talent. Her songwriter clients there included Brice Long, Tom Douglas, Tony Lane, Jordyn Shellhart and artists Drake Milligan and Restless Road. Before Sony/ATV, she was an A&R consultant at CAM Creative and also worked as a professional touring musician for artists including Sara Evans and Billy Currington.

RBC Wealth Management, which has a large number clients based in the music and entertainment industries, has lured The LSS Group, an all-female advisor team, to the company. They were previously at J.P. Morgan.

Managing more than $1.2 billion in assets, The LSS Group is made up of managing director & financial advisors Eden Lopez, Leslie Schwartz and Paula Steinberg; vp & marketing consultant Kate Bishop; senior registered client associate Carmilita Aching; and registered client associate Alanna Hitscherich.

“Not only does our team have a long-standing relationship with local RBC Wealth Management leadership in New York, but we also see the firm’s relationship with City National Bank as an opportunity to even better meet the very unique financial needs of our clients, especially those in the entertainment industry, where managing money is very different,” said Lopez in a statement. “The strength and stability of RBC and the ability to double down on our presence in L.A., Nashville and New York all led to the decision to move our practice.”

City National, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada, specializes in entertainment industry clients and provides financial advice and personal service to over 80% of the country music industry in Nashville, as well as half of all Broadway shows. The bank’s teams in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York will work closely with The LSS Group to offer clients City National’s financial services and suite of technology solutions specifically tailored to the entertainment industry.

Lopez, Schwartz and Steinberg have all been named by Forbes as Best in State Wealth Advisors in New York.

David Sayer has joined B2B licensing marketplace Songtradr as director of premium music in Australia. Sayer will oversee relationships with local labels, music catalogs and artists for non-exclusive sync licensing representation, digital distribution and rights management, including YouTube Content ID and the collection of publishing and neighboring rights royalties.

A 30-year industry veteran with deep knowledge in the areas of digital distribution, account acquisitions, artist management and live events, Sayer was most recently music account manager at Valleyarm Digital Limited. He previously worked at Premier Artists, Amphead Music and more.

AI music similarity tech firm AIMS has named music-tech consultant Cory Sims senior director of business development.

Sims, who is based in New York City, began his career as a drummer and then tour manager for the band Bronze Radio Return. He later worked as a music promoter and concert organizer in Hartford, Connecticut before becoming a business development executive at The Harry Fox Agency in 2018. Soon after, he launched the music business consultancy group CES Associates, Inc., which helps startups and artists navigate the industry. Sims will continue to run CES independently.

AIMS is an API service that uses AI to search for and recommend music within a music catalog based on reference audio tracks. It was designed for and “trained by” music supervisors, composers and machine learning specialists.