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7digital CEO and CFO both stand down

By | Published on Friday 19 July 2019


7digital may have a new Chair, but it has just lost its CEO and CFO. The struggling B2B digital music and radio production company confirmed yesterday that both CEO John Aalbers and CFO Julia Hubbard will leave the business just months after joining.

The departures closely follow the announcement that eMusic President Tamir Koch has been appointed Chair of the 7digital company. He is providing some of the money 7digital says it needs to avoid falling into administration, and says he sees synergies between the B2B digital music platform and eMusic, especially in relation to the blockchain venture he has been pursuing there of late.

Aalbers joined 7digital in March. Yesterday he said that – while he was confident that the involvement of Koch and eMusic in the business was a good strategy for ensuring 7digital’s survival – both he and Hubbard recognised that further cost-savings were necessary.

Reducing the size of the senior management team would provide considerable cost savings. And to that end, Chief Operating Officer Paul Langworthy will become CEO, while eMusic’s CFO Michael Juskiewicz will take over Hubbard’s duties.

Aalbers explained that overcoming 7digital’s financial woes had been his main task since joining the firm. That, he reckoned, was “largely completed … by securing a new, strategic majority investor, which has stated that it is prepared to invest further funds”.

He then added: “The final phase of the fundraising is in progress and we expect an additional £4.5 million to be raised in the coming weeks. These funds will provide the company with the necessary resources to implement the revised strategy and put the company on a solid path towards both growth and profitability. Nevertheless, the company needs to further consolidate and control our operating costs to support the new model”.

“To this end”, he went on, “Julia Hubbard and I have reached the conclusion, and the board agrees with our recommendation, that it would be in the company’s interest for me and Julia to step down. Alongside other cost-cutting initiatives already in motion, this will save the company close to £1 million per annum, reducing cash burn in the most effective way”.

Both Aalbers and Hubbard will continue to support the business during a three month transition period.

Confirming all this, the aforementioned Koch said: “I’d like to thank John for his leadership and Julia’s strong support in meeting the financial challenges faced by 7digital and for successfully steering the company through these rough waters to safety. I also thank John and Julia for continuing to advise and support the company during the upcoming months to ensure a smooth transition to Paul and Michael”.