Sunday, July 21, 2024

UK Music Makes It Official, Appoints Tom Kiehl to Chief Executive of British Trade Body

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LONDON — Tom Kiehl has been announced as the new chief executive of UK Music, succeeding Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, who left the British industry trade body last year to work for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Kiehl has held the role of interim chief executive at UK Music since Njoku-Goodwin’s sudden exit in September. He has worked at the London-based umbrella organization, which represents all sectors of the United Kingdom’s music industry, since 2012 – initially working as director of public affairs before being promoted to deputy CEO in 2018.

In a statement announcing Kiehl’s appointment, UK Music said it had received more than 130 applications for the role and had carried out an “extensive recruitment process” to find its new CEO.   

“We are entering a critical new era of change for the music industry when the political landscape is also rapidly changing. At this important time, I’m confident Tom is the right person for the job,” said Tom Watson, UK Music Chair, in a statement.

Watson went on to say that Kiehl “will be a tireless advocate for our members and our sector – using his wide range of talents to drive UK Music to even greater heights.”

Kiehl’s promotion to the head of UK Music comes less than two weeks before the U.K. general election on July 4 when the country goes to the polls to elect a new government.

Last month, Kiehl called on the leaders of all the main British political parties to support the U.K. music industry’s role as a “key national asset” that is facing intense global competition.

To help grow the British music industry, which generated £6.7 billion ($8.2 billion) for the country’s economy in 2022 and supports 210,000 jobs, according to research commissioned by UK Music, the trade group wants policy makers to protect creators’ rights from being exploited by AI developers, as well as secure a cultural touring agreement with the EU to address many of the lasting issues caused by Brexit.

UK Music also wants the next government to introduce a new tax credit to increase U.K.-based music production and establish tighter regulations for secondary ticketing platforms.    

Kiehl’s extensive experience of working with politicians and government officials means that he is well placed to try and achieve those aims. Prior to joining UK Music, the widely respected music executive worked in the Houses of Parliament for 11 years as a senior advisor and researcher for the Liberal Democrat party. More recently, Kiehl led a successful campaign to change planning laws to better protect grassroots music venues. 

“It’s an immense privilege and great responsibility to take on the role of leading UK Music at such a pivotal moment,” said Kiehl in a statement.

The newly appointed CEO said he would continue to work with the organization’s members to lobby government officials for measures that would support the music industry “ranging from strong copyright protections and more music teachers, to key safeguards around AI and greater support for music freelancers.”

“My vision for UK Music is to build on our mission of bringing our sector together to speak with one voice and secure our place as the key organization that fuels the growth and prominence of the UK’s music industry,” said Kiehl. “We must be relevant, representative, and able to deliver for the sector in order to achieve this.”

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