UK Music appoints Tom Kiehl as chief executive as industry awaits new government

UK Music appoints Tom Kiehl as chief executive as industry awaits new government

UK Music has appointed Tom Kiehl as its new chief executive.

The UK Music board of directors appointed Kiehl after an extensive recruitment process, which attracted more than 130 applicants. 

Kiehl has been UK Music’s interim chief executive since September 2023, following the departure of Jamie Njoku-Goodwin to become Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s director of strategy.

He takes on the role at a critical time for UK Music and the wider industry ahead of the arrival of a new government following polling day on July 4.

With more than two decades of experience working in and around Westminster, Kiehl will lead the sector’s cross-party engagement with ministers, MPs, policymakers and government officials. 

Moving up from his present role as UK Music interim chief executive, Kiehl starts this month in his new role leading a sector that contributes £6.7 billion to the UK economy and supports 210,000 jobs. 

Most recently, he has led the UK Music team’s continued engagement with senior politicians, government officials and other key stakeholders ahead of the general election. 

This included the production of the organisation’s comprehensive Manifesto For Music, which details the sector’s requests for the new government – some of which are already enshrined as commitments in the manifestos of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats.

Welcoming the appointment, UK Music chair Tom Watson said: “The UK Music Board is looking forward to working with Tom to help him progress his exciting ideas to ensure the UK music industry continues to grow and retain its unique place in the world.

“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.  

“He 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.”

It’s an immense privilege and great responsibility to take on the role of leading UK Music at such a pivotal moment

Tom Kiehl

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

“I am looking forward to working with our fantastic members to press their case with the new government for the changes we want to see – ranging from strong copyright protections and more music teachers, to key safeguards around AI and greater support for music freelancers. 

“I want young people across the UK to see our industry as the most inclusive and exciting place to work, and one which will reward their talents."

He added: “We need to turn this moment of considerable political change into a moment to achieve change for UK Music. 

“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 organisation that fuels the growth and prominence of the UK's music industry. 

“We must be relevant, representative, and able to deliver for the sector in order to achieve this.”

Kiehl was an architect of the Live Music Act, designed to deregulate live music performance from entertainment licensing, and navigated its passage through Parliament while working in the House of Lords.

He joined UK Music in 2012 as director of public affairs and was promoted to deputy CEO in 2018. He coordinated the successful Parliamentary campaign to introduce the “agent of change” principle in planning rules to protect music venues.

Kiehl  organised a successful judicial review of government plans to introduce an exception to copyright for private copying without fair compensation.

He also steered the music industry through the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic during his first stint as acting CEO.

More recently, Kiehl has led campaigns on the challenges of generative-AI to the music industry, the continuing impact of Brexit on touring musicians and the sector’s work to make the industry more diverse and inclusive

Previously, Kiehl worked in the Houses of Parliament for 11 years as a senior advisor and researcher in the Liberal Democrat whips’ Office in both government and opposition.

He is a member of the Creative Industries Council, Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board, the National Plan for Music Education Monitoring Board, Power of Music Implementation Group and LIVE Touring Working Group.

UK Music represents all sectors of the industry. The industry umbrella group’s members are: AIM, BPI, FAC, The Ivors Academy, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music. UK Music also has an informal association with LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment). 

PHOTO: UK Music and Bob Fallon

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