UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has announced he is stepping down after three years at the helm of the British music industry trade body to become director of strategy for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
A date has yet to be announced for Njoku-Goodwin’s exit from the organization, although it is expected to take place imminently. UK Music Deputy chief executive Tom Kiehl will take over from Njoku-Goodwin while the search for a new CEO is underway.
Njoku-Goodwin took over as CEO of UK Music in September 2020, succeeding Michael Dugher. Prior to joining the London-based organization, Njoku-Goodwin worked in politics, serving as a special adviser to former cabinet minister Matt Hancock and the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The first two years of Njoku-Goodwin’s time at UK Music, which represents all sectors of the United Kingdom’s music industry, coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic and saw him campaign for government funding to help prop up the business at a time of national lockdowns and the shutdown of live shows.
In conjunction with other music trade groups, UK Music also lobbied the government to remove barriers to touring in Europe brought about by the country’s exit from the European Union. Those barriers — many of which still exist — include new restrictions for U.K. artists and crews entering Europe (and vice versa for European acts playing the United Kingdom) and increased production costs due to cabotage, carnets, visa and work permit charges.
A recent focus for UK Music has been ensuring that creators and rights holders receive effective protection from artificial intelligence’s (AI) transformative impact on the industry.
Last year, Njoku-Goodwin strongly criticized what he referred to as “dangerous and damaging” plans by the British government allowing AI developers to freely use copyright-protected works, including music, to train their systems without the need for creators and rights holders to provide permission.
Speaking out against the proposals, which were met with a fierce backlash from across the music and creative industries, Njoku-Goodwin — who sits on the board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra — said they “would give the green light to music laundering.”
After further consultation with representatives of the music and media industries, the government announced that it was shelving the proposed text and data mining exceptions in February.
Other issues that UK Music has campaigned for in the past three years include music education and improving diversity and inclusion throughout the industry. The organization has also continued to regularly produce reports on the health of the U.K. music business, including last month’s “Here, There and Everywhere” assessment of the country’s live sector.
“The U.K. music industry is one of this country’s great national assets, and it’s been a privilege to represent it for the past three years,” said Njoku-Goodwin in a statement announcing his departure. “I’m delighted our sector is in much better shape now to take on the challenges and opportunities it faces in the future.”
Paying tribute, UK Music chairman Lord Watson said Njoku-Goodwin had “played a key role” in helping the industry get back on its feet after the struggles of the pandemic and called him “a passionate advocate for our sector.”