New Directors a New Chief Executive and New Challenges

Robert Ashcroft addresses the PRS for Music AGM

Hosted by PRS Chair Ellis Rich in his final year as Chairman, the AGM saw a range of writers and publishers gather to elect board members and approve the 2009 financial accounts. 

Robert Ashcroft newly appointed Chief Executive paid tribute to Ellis Rich as a “natural leader” and “musician’s musician” and told the audience that “PRS for Music was in good shape” but that “we still have plenty of challenges ahead”.   Announcing the 2009 annual results for the organisation Ashcroft commended the growth in international revenues and online royalties as well as highlighting that a new cheaper music licence for small business had actually led to an increase in revenues, as more businesses opted to use music. 

This year there were six vacancies for writer directors and three vacancies for publisher directors.    At the closing date for nominations, there were 11 candidates standing as writer directors and four candidates standing as publisher directors.   Following a vote the following were elected to the board of PRS:  Steve Levine, Mitch Murray, Nicky Graham, Guy Fletcher, Barry Blue and Julian Nott. 

The two new writer director appointments in 2010 are that of Barry Blue and Julian Nott.   Barry has worked as a singer, songwriter and producer throughout his career and written hits such as ‘Do you Wanna Dance’ and ‘Dancin on a Saturday Night’ which was co-written with fellow PRS board member Lynsey de Paul.   Barry has also written for numerous artists internationally including:  Andrea Bocelli, Diana Ross, Celine Dion, The Saturdays and Pixie Lott.  

Julian is a noted film and television composer having written soundtracks to hit children’s show Peppa Pig, the BBC’s Lark Rise to Candleford and Oscar winning animation Wallace and Gromit.   

Publisher directors elected to the board are Nigel Elderton, Richard King and William Booth who were all serving directors.

With the election of two new writer members, Eddie Gregson and Peter Callander will be leaving the PRS board.  

Ellis Rich, Chair of PRS said, “Eddie joined the Board in September 1995.  He has been a staunch defender of the classical music fraternity throughout his tenure.  His community could not have wished for a fiercer ally and he will be much missed.  We thank him for all he has done.”

Ellis added on Peter Callander “Peter joined the PRS Board or Council as it then was in March 1992.  He has been Deputy Chairman Writer a total of 3 terms and has made an invaluable contribution to the many committees he has chaired or sat on.  He has always exhibited great honesty when speaking up for the writer community and I believe he has set a benchmark of probity and frankness for incoming writer directors.  I would like to thank him for his years of dedication and effort.”

Peter continues to be a trustee of the PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund.  

Philip Ball, freelance science writer and author of The Music Instinct: How Music Works, and Why We Can’t Do Without It, gave the key note address. 

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