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‘Without Andy Heath UK Music wouldn’t exist today’: UK Music chairman Andy Heath steps down

Heath founded UK Music in 2008

Andy Heath

UK Music chairman Andy Heath is to step down in 2020 after 11 years leading the UK’s music industry trade body.

Heath founded UK Music in 2008, bringing the commercial side of the music industry together and establishing the world’s first industry-wide public affairs organisation to fight for the UK music business.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Heath has become one of the most respected advocates for the music industry, both within the business and with policymakers and politicians. He has been on the board of Beggars Group, one of the world’s leading independent music companies, since 1989. He is currently chairman of Beggars Music, the group’s publishing division, and will remain in that role.

Heath also served on the Council of the Music Publishers Association since 1989 (as president from 1993 to 1997) and sat on the boards of PRS For Music and Mechanical Copyright Protection Society from 1992 to 2008. In January 2008, he was appointed chairman of British Music Rights, which he co-founded in 1997. At present, he is a member of the MPA board.

In 2019, he received a CBE for his services to the music industry which he said was “an honour for the whole music industry”. This followed the MBE that he was awarded in 2009.

While the UK Music Board has begun the process of appointing Heath’s successor as UK Music chairman, he will remain in his role as chairman until the process of recruiting a CEO to replace outgoing chief executive Michael Dugher has been completed.

Dugher announced last week that he was stepping down at the end of January 2020 to take up a position as CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council. Tom Kiehl, currently UK Music deputy CEO, will take over as acting CEO during the process of recruiting a new chief executive.

Heath commented: “The time is right for me to make way for a successor. Indeed, I intended to step down before Michael Dugher was appointed, but felt it was right to support Michael in his, then, new post. I’m thrilled that I did that as UK Music has risen to new achievements under his leadership. Building on the impressive legacy of Jo Dipple, UK Music is now a truly respected organisation in Westminster, Whitehall, the media and within the industry itself.

“I’m immensely proud to have been part of the UK Music story, but I have to mention the part that Feargal Sharkey played all those years ago. We did it together and it has been a privilege to build what we have today.

“When we started, legislators and commentators generally regarded the music industry in a very confused and not always complimentary light. We did not have the ear of government and were seen as a slightly disreputable industry. That has all changed now and it is entirely down to the members of UK Music finding and expressing a common and constructive voice, which is now, not only heard but sought out for information and opinion. The value to the Treasury is now also universally accepted.

“I have no intention to disappear over the horizon and will make myself available to help in any way that the incoming chair and CEO might wish and for as long as they wish. UK Music is now a powerful force with a great team and I have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength with new faces at the top.”

Dugher said: “Andy Heath has been a great mentor and a good friend to me. It is no overstatement to say that without Andy Heath UK Music simply wouldn’t exist today.

“Through many years of dedicated, selfless service he has ensured that the great British music industry speaks with one voice and is held in the highest possible regard by those in power. That is without parallel anywhere else in the world and it is a genuinely historic achievement.

“His canny ability to negotiate tricky and complex situations – and to get things done with a smile – would put most ambassadors to shame. Personally, I think he should now be deployed to sort out the Middle East peace process”.