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UK Music confirms new CEO

By | Published on Monday 14 September 2020

UK Music

UK Music – the UK music industry’s trade body of trade bodies and united voice in Westminster and Whitehall – has appointed a new CEO in the form of Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, a former political advisor allied to the Conservative Party. He will formally join the trade organisation next month taking over from Michael Dugher, the former Labour MP who departed the top job at UK Music at the start of the year.

Since Dugher’s departure, another former Labour MP, Tom Watson, was hired as Chair of the organisation. Although welcomed by many in the music industry, that appointment was not without controversy. Mainly because of Watson’s involvement in the disastrous Operation Midland investigation into allegations of child abuse against a number of former mainly Conservative politicians. All of which was based on the false claims of a man called Carl Beech, who was subsequently convicted for fraud and child sex offences.

A key complaint of those within the music community who were against Watson’s appointment was that he has too many enemies within the ruling Conservative Party to be an effective chief lobbyist for the music business. Hiring for the CEO role a man with close connections to the Tories – who was formally a political advisor to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and at the Department For Digital, Culture, Media And Sport – is a solid response to that criticism.

Of course, it does mean that both the Chair and CEO roles at UK Music are now filled with people from a political rather than music industry background. Though the hope, presumably, is that the organisation’s board, made up of ten other music industry trade bodies and collecting societies, can bring the industry knowledge to the table.

Given that – beyond the imminent COVID crisis – one key challenge ahead is a dispute between different strands of the music industry regarding how streaming income is shared out between different stakeholders, having a Chair and CEO with no affiliations to any one strand may be a strength. Whether Njoku-Goodwin can also placate the vocal Watson critics within the music community remains to be seen.

Confirming the new appointment, Watson said: “On behalf of all my colleagues on the UK Music board, I’m delighted to welcome Jamie Njoku-Goodwin to the team. Jamie is a first-class appointment and brings renewed leadership to UK Music at a vital time for the industry”.

“His experience of working at the heart of government will be invaluable to the industry as we make the case to ministers that our sector needs further support as we return to being a net contributor to the country’s economy”, he went on.

“Jamie is well known to our members as he has always been a passionate supporter of music, both in his professional roles in government, particularly whilst at the Department For Digital, Culture, Media And Sport, and also as a musician himself. I’m sure that he will build on all the fantastic work of our former CEO Michael Dugher, and Tom Kiehl who has been our acting CEO since February”.

There there mentioned Kiehl, who filled in as UK Music CEO on an interim basis after Dugher’s departure, will continue as Deputy CEO and Director Of Public Affairs.

And finally, some words from the new CEO himself, Mr Njoku-Goodwin: “Be it through the £5.2 billion it generates for the economy, the 190,000 jobs it sustains across our country, or the symbol of British exceptionalism it broadcasts around the world, the music industry is one of our most important national assets – and something we should all be hugely proud of”.

“UK Music has a vital role in fighting for the interests of the music industry, and I am delighted to be taking the helm of the organisation at such an important time. There are big challenges facing commercial music, like the impact of coronavirus, the importance of copyright, and the need for more action on diversity and inclusion. But for all the challenges, there are also huge opportunities – and I am confident that with the right support, the music industry can be the British success story of the 2020s”.

“I would like to thank the previous CEO Michael Dugher and Tom Kiehl for all their great work in making UK Music the force that it is. I look forward to working closely with the government, music-makers and music lovers to support the music industry and capitalise upon the huge potential that it offers to the UK”.