Executive Turntable: UK Music Appoints New Chair, BMGPM Names Sony/ATV Vet as Co-Head
A rundown of moves and shakers across the music business including at UK Music, BMGPM, Concord Theatricals and more.
UK Music, the umbrella organization representing the interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, has appointed former Shadow Culture secretary and Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson as its new chair, it was announced Monday (March 30). He succeeds outgoing chair Andy Heath.
“UK Music speaks with a powerful voice for the whole of the UK commercial music sector. And at the heart of the sector are the songwriters and musicians, many thousands of whom stand ready to serve in the national effort against the coronavirus,” said Watson in a statement. He went on to note that “thousands of jobs are now in peril” due to the pandemic, threatening the “long-term bottom line” of the UK economy, including a commercial music sector that contributes £5.2 billion and supports 190,000 jobs.
“Our urgent task is to work with our colleagues and partners in Government to support the national effort to defeat coronavirus, whilst protecting the jewel in the crown of British culture – commercial music,” Watson continued. “When we’re through this crisis, UK Music has an important part to play in Britain’s developing new role in the world. We believe we can be the Prime Minister’s calling card to every country on the planet.”
Watson added he would be “seeking urgent talks” with ministers and officials to ensure support for the music industry and its workers during the global crisis.
Watson spent nearly two decades as a Member of Parliament, including roles as a Government Minister in two departments, before stepping down last December.
In his own statement, Heath praised Watson as “one of the great political leaders of his generation and I know he will take UK Music from strength to strength and help continue to grow our fantastic industry.”
UK Music’s acting CEO Tom Kiehl will remain in his current role as the recruitment process for a successor unfolds.
On Tuesday (March 31) BMG announced the appointment of Dan Pounder as head of finance, operations and systems at its BMG Production Music (BMGPM) unit. He will run BMGPM jointly with executive vp & global managing director John Clifford.
Pounder hails from Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s Extreme Music, where he worked for 15 years and most recently served as executive vp and CFO of the Sony/ATV and Hans Zimmer joint venture Bleeding Fingers Music. Pounder was responsible for Extreme’s international offices and its worldwide commercial operations; he has also chaired the PRS/MCPS Production Music Advisory Group and served as a member of the PRS Licensing Committee.
In his new role, Pounder will report to both BMG COO Ben Katovsky and Clifford, who will continue reporting to BMG CFO Maximilian Dressendoerfer.
BMGPM provides one-stop, pre-cleared and custom production music services to the global broadcast, film/trailer, games and advertising industries. It now operates in seven countries following its acquisitions of AXS Production Music and Telemusic in France, Immediate Music in the U.S., Big Bang & Fuzz in Australia and Deep East Music in the UK. In 2019, BMGPM revenues grew 36% and EBITDA increased more than 40%.
Sean Patrick Flahaven has been promoted to chief theatricals executive at Concord Theatricals, it was revealed Tuesday (March 31). He previously served as president of the division and will now report to Concord CEO Scott Pascucci.
Flahaven has spent 25 years as a licensing executive, music publisher, record and show producer, conductor/arranger and composer/playwright. He was recently honored with the inaugural Alan Jay Lerner Award by The Dramatists Guild Foundation.
Succeeding Flahaven in the role of president is Bill Gaden, who has served as president, North America at Concord Music Publishing since 2017. He worked in senior executive roles for 12 years at Rodgers & Hammerstein and Imagem prior to its acquisition by Concord.
Elsewhere in the executive shuffle at Concord, Victoria Traube has been promoted to executive vp of legal & business affairs; Michelle Yaroshko has been promoted to senior vp of professional licensing, North America; and Imogen Lloyd Webber has been promoted to senior vp of marketing & communications.
Trabue and Yasho both worked at Rodgers & Hammerstein and Imagem prior to the Concord acquisition. Lloyd Webber was previously with The Musical Company, Concord’s joint venture with The Really Useful Group.
“While the music and theater businesses have both been severely impacted by the pandemic, Concord remains emphatically committed to both —now, while we are all working from home, and going forward when we are able to get back to a more normal routine,” said Pascucci in a statement announcing the round of promotions. “Our senior executives and staff have all distinguished themselves these past few weeks, including the executives receiving these well-deserved promotions — all of whom have bright futures at Concord.”
The music collection body PPL India has named GB Aayeer its new CEO, it was announced by Times Music COO and PPL chairman Mandar Thakur on Tuesday (March 31). Aayeer succeeds Rajat Kakar in the role.
Aayeer hails from the record label Saregama, where he served in a variety of roles, including CFO, interim CEO and executive director of the board.
“Rajat has made PPL into a data oriented, transparent and professional organization and I now look forward to continuing the momentum built in the last 2 years with the help of a highly talented team of employees and efficient systems, a combination that offers immense potential for growth,” said Aayeer in a statement. “I look forward to working with stakeholders and users alike to create an environment of respect for Intellectual property.”
Ophelia Conheady has been appointed head of A&R at Marathon Artists, the main label imprint of Marathon Music Group, it was announced Thursday (April 2). Conheady hails from Columbia Records UK, where she served as senior A&R manager.
“Ophelia’s creative vision, acuity for current and future trends and understanding of the artist development process has revealed her to be a forward-thinking musical innovator,” said Marathon co-founder and CEO Paul-Rene Albertini, whom Conheady will directly report to. “She also brings great insights about the importance of analytics and tech in the decision making process and will be an important, senior team player at Marathon Music Group.”
Industry veteran Wendy Pearl has relaunched her boutique agency Wendy Pearl Public Relations (WPPR), it was announced Monday (March 30).
“Being an advocate for the artists and causes I believe in has been the foundation of my company,” said Pearl, whose agency micro-focuses on select clients. “A pivotal time for our industry with so many challenges ahead, there are incredible stories that deserve and need to be told. I’m ready to use the experience I’ve gained at major labels, television networks, and CMA to give dimension and context to the creators and music I love.”
WPPR’s clients include country singer Mandy Barnett, the Georgia Music Foundation’s annual “Georgia On My Mind” concert event and the “I Believe In Nashville” campaign, which is currently focused on raising funds for tornado victims in Middle Tennessee.
Pearl first launched WPPR in January 2017 after 17 years as head of communications operations for the Country Music Association, where her work included oversight of national media campaigns for CMA Fest, the CMA Awards and the organization’s charitable work. In 2018, she shuttered WPPR to return to Sony Music Nashville as vp of media. She has also worked at Asylum Records, TNN and as a journalist at The Miami Herald.