UK Music chairman and founder to step down

Andy Heath is to step down in 2020 after 11 years at the helm of the UK’s leading trade body for the music industry.

Bekki Bemrose
  • By Bekki Bemrose
  • 11 Dec 2019
  • min read
Andy Heath is to step down in 2020 after 11 years at the helm of the UK’s leading trade body for the music industry.

Heath founded UK Music in 2008 as an industry-wide public affairs organisation designed to fight for the UK Music business.

His career has spanned more than 50 years and he joined the Beggars Group board in 1989 – and will remain in the role of chairman of its publishing division – the same year he first served on the Council of Music Publishers Association.

He has subsequently sat on the boards of PRS for Music and Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and was appointed chairman of British Music Rights, which he co-founded in 1997.

He continues his membership of the MPA board and in 2019 he was awarded a CBE for his services to the music industry, having received an MBE a decade earlier.

Heath will remain in his role as chairman until UK Music have found a replacement for its current chief executive Michael Dugher, who announced he was stepping down in January 2020 last week.

Andy Heath says: ‘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 and building on the impressive legacy of Jo Dipple 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.’

Michael Dugher, chief executive, UK Music, comments: ‘Andy Heath has been great mentor and a good friend to me. But 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.’

UK Music’s members have paid tribute to Andy Heath for his dedication and hard work representing the industry.

Andrea Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, comments: ‘I would like to extend my thanks to Andy Heath for everything he has done for our industry and the energy and passion he has put into UK Music during the last 11 years. The organisation has grown into a significant voice and campaigning force for our business and I know will go on to even greater things in its new era in 2020 and beyond.’

Crispin Hunt, chair of The Ivors Academy, says: ‘The British music industry is deeply indebted to Andy Heath for his wisdom, diplomacy, fairness, leadership and friendship. It's been a pleasure and an honour to work with him. Andy steps down as Chair having successfully raised and established UK Music as our industry’s leading voice across politics.’

Peter Leathem, chief executive, PPL, adds: ‘As Chair over the last decade, Andy has guided UK Music from its inception to the successful and influential single voice of the music industry that it is today. Andy has used all of his executive and music industry experience to bring the music industry together at UK Music and has at all times been a great Chair with which to work”.

Roberto Neri, chair, MPA, says: ‘Andy has been safeguarding the rights of music creators for many decades. He has led UK Music to its current successful status by sharing his wisdom and his incredible chairmanship.’

Paul Pacifico, CEO of AIM, says: ‘Andy Heath has been a truly remarkable Chair for UK Music since its inception. His ability to provide balance and perspective on the key strategic issues of the moment, whilst always staying mindful of the human factors and the individual people that are so crucial to our sector have been instrumental in his ability to galvanise a historically fragmented community into a strong and coherent voice.

‘Under Andy’s leadership, UK Music has become a united force that can stand up for and speak out for music on the national stage effectively. AIM’s community of entrepreneurs and innovators in music is deeply thankful to Andy for his work as UK Music Chair and the opportunities he created for small voices to be heard in the big debates.’

Tom Watson, Shadow Culture Secretary, adds: ‘The UK music industry owes Andy Heath a great vote of thanks. His boundless energy, determination and passion has transformed UK Music from an idea to the powerful force it is today. Over the last decade he has coaxed, cajoled and persuaded the many stakeholders of the industry to come together and speak with one voice to government. When the music industry has something to say, Andy has ensured that UK Music’s message is delivered to politicians and policymakers powerfully and succinctly. I’m proud to have worked with him.’