John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union (MU) and President of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), will succeed Fran Nevrkla OBE as Chairman of PPL (which is a part-time position) on 1 January 2016. Fran Nevrkla will retire at the end of 2015 following 15 years with the company.
With a career spanning 40 years in the music industry, John has worked with PPL for many years. In 2006 he was a key player in achieving the successful merger of PAMRA (Performing Artists’ Media Rights Association) and AURA (Association of United Recording Artists) into PPL to form one of the world’s most successful and efficient Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). He currently serves as a Director on the PPL Board and PPL Performer Board. Formerly Principal Tuba at the English National Opera, John’s appointment as Chairman comes at a time of increased performer representation on the PPL Board.
John Smith said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to become Chairman of PPL. It is a great honour to follow in the footsteps of Fran Nevrkla who has presided over such a successful chapter in PPL’s history. Working for many years with PPL, the MU and for the FIM has given me a firm grounding in the practical application of performers’ rights and the role of effective collective management - knowledge that I will continue to apply on behalf of all PPL’s performer and record company members. I am looking forward to being part of the PPL team and working with Peter and his staff to further the success of the company.”
Peter Leathem, CEO, PPL said: “John has an excellent knowledge of PPL and the wider music industry and his appointment is unanimously supported by the Board. John’s appointment provides stability and continuity to the organisation which is key to ensuring future success. As President of the FIM, John’s knowledge of the international music industry landscape will be invaluable as we continue to expand our reach, scale and services in this area for the benefit of our members and the global music industry. I look forward to working with John in his new role as we continue to look to the future to maximise neighbouring rights revenues from the UK and internationally”.
As a seasoned musician, John Smith began his career as Principal Tuba at the English National Opera in 1974 where he remained for 20 years. During this time he became active in the MU as Chair of the MU Opera and Ballet Orchestras Committee for several years. In 1994 he was appointed a full-time official of the MU and was elected as General Secretary in December 2002. Here, he has gone on to campaign successfully on a host of performer issues; in 2011 he was a key player in persuading the Government to extend the term of copyright protection in sound recordings from 50 to 70 years.
Additionally, he sits on the boards of UK Music, the British Copyright Council and the Educational Recording Agency.