UK Music CEO Michael Dugher steps down: 'We have achieved great things'

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher steps down: 'We have achieved great things'

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher is to step down after almost three years leading the music industry trade body.

He is leaving to take up a new position as CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council.

Dugher joined UK Music in April 2017 after serving as Labour MP for Barnsley East for seven years. His roles at Westminster included Shadow Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

During his time at UK Music, Dugher spearheaded the campaign to change planning laws to protect grassroots venues, challenged the government over the impact of soaring business rates and the talent pipeline. He also played a key role in the successful campaign on the Copyright Directive.

Dugher will be leaving at the end of January after which Tom Kiehl, currently deputy CEO, will take over as acting CEO during the process of recruiting a new top boss. 

Dugher said: “It has been an immense privilege to serve as CEO at UK Music for nearly three years. We have achieved great things for an industry that makes a huge and positive contribution to our country. I have always believed in the power of music to transform lives and I am grateful for the opportunity UK Music’s members gave me back in 2017 to play a part in what is a wonderful organisation. I hope I have made a difference.

“I have been lucky to work with some phenomenally talented and deeply committed people, on the staff and amongst our member organisations. In particular, I’d like to pay tribute to UK Music’s outstanding founding chairman, Andy Heath, for believing in me and for showing me every personal support.”

He added: “I hope that UK Music has a profile and a reach today that can enable it to achieve even greater things in future. I am genuinely sorry to leave, but I made a commitment when I left politics to put my family first and I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I have no doubt that UK Music will only go from strength to strength and I wish the organisation, its members and the new acting CEO Tom Kiehl every success in the future."

We have achieved great things for an industry that makes a huge and positive contribution to our country

Michael Dugher

Heath said: “Michael has done a truly outstanding job and we are very sorry indeed to lose a man who has helped give the music industry in the UK a presence, influence and reputation, which it thoroughly deserves, but has not always in the past been able to communicate.

“The team at UK Music are first class and will continue the exceptional work it has shown in the last few years. We all, and I personally, wish Michael every success in the future and I look forward to him attending many of our functions in the future."

Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, said: “Michael has been a powerful advocate for the UK music industry over the last three years, helping to galvanise all parts of the sector to speak with one voice. I have really enjoyed working with Michael and his team, and his support for the work of PPL has been invaluable. We wish him well in his new role and hope that he will continue to support British music from afar.”

Andrea Martin, CEO of PRS For Music, said: “We are grateful for Michael’s tireless efforts in championing the UK’s music industry for nearly three years as CEO of UK Music.  

“His notable successes, particularly in copyright reform and protections for small venues, have further enhanced the industry’s positive engagement with government and the wider creative sector. We wish him all the best in his new role."

Roberto Neri, chair of MPA, said: “The MPA is grateful for the significant progress Michael has made as CEO of UK Music. He took on board our viewpoints from the publishing community and continued to unite the voices from across our UK music industry. We wish him the very best in his future endeavours and we know he will continue to champion our industry." 

Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI, said: “Michael has done an excellent job for UK Music, we’ll miss working with him and wish him every success in his new role”. 

Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of Musicians’ Union, said: “Michael has represented the music industry with vigour and intelligence. His tireless campaigning for grassroots music venues has made a real difference to the gig circuit. We will miss his good humour and boundless energy.”  


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