SAMRO announces new board

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Relebogile Mabotja will head the SAMRO board until a permanent chair is appointed.

South Africa – The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has officially announced the new board of directors following an election at its annual general meeting (AGM) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 11 December.

The official proclamation of the new board was delayed pending a verification process of the new members. The board’s voting process was supervised and adjudicated by independent consultants and scrutineers and was verified by SAMRO’s auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers. The AGM was facilitated by former Independent Electoral Commission vice-chairperson Terry Tselane.

Lebotja Media founder Relebogile Mabotja is the new deputy chairperson and replaces veteran musician Sibongile Khumalo. Mabotja, who is also a musician, has been serving on the SAMRO board since 2016 and will chair the board until a permanent independent chair is appointed. Also continuing his service on the board since 2016 is SonyATV and EMI Music Publishing managing director Rowlin Naicker.

The new SAMRO board members are Sheer Music Publishing founder David Alexander, composer and producer Gabi Le Roux, businessman Dr Sipho Sithole, producer Sello ‘Chicco’ Twala and Universal Music Publishing Africa managing director Ryan Hill. Adding to the list of new board members are David Gresham Entertainment Group chief financial officer Natalie Sanderson, singer Wendy Oldfield and musician Linah Ngcobo.

“The new board of directors at SAMRO symbolises change and a new start,” Mabotja said. “We are united in spirit towards making this key organisation a force to be reckoned with, not only at home in South Africa but across the African continent and the globe.

“This change opens great potential and opportunities for our local music industry, which is taking the world by storm. We position SAMRO as a dependable collector of royalties with the best interests of the industry at its core. We are also proud that the board reflects a fair representation of women in leadership.”

Regarding the appointment of a permanent chairperson, SAMRO said: “The board is in the process of identifying two independent directors to join the board as chairperson of the board and chairperson of the audit and risk committee, respectively.”

Nothando Migogo continues to serve as SAMRO CEO while Ditebogo Modiba is still the organisation’s chief operations officer.

The outgoing SAMRO board is as follows:

  • Former chairperson – Jerry Mnisi
  • Former deputy chairperson –  Sibongile Khumalo
  • Former board member – Joe Niemand
  • Former board member – Sipho Mabuse
  • Former board member – Loyiso Bala
  • Former board member – Prof Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph
  • Former board member – John Edmond

SAMRO’s way forward 

SAMRO says the new leadership intends to build on the three pillars on which the organisation’s business strategy rests.

“The commitment is to finalise inherited legacy issues and to use these as lessons towards the implementation of the 2020 strategy,” the collective management organisation said. “The first pillar focuses on the optimisation of SAMRO’s business and entails identifying areas in which efficiencies can be improved on so as to have a positive impact on the distributions SAMRO makes to its members.

“Second is business diversification, which focuses on identifying and pursuing opportunities to provide SAMRO’s existing stakeholders (members and licensees) an improved and wider service offering out of the current resources SAMRO has at its disposal. The third pillar is about future focus and innovation that will enable SAMRO to compete effectively in the market and industry of the future.”

SAMRO has also resolved to embark on a roadshow to engage its members on the important issue of public-domain works. It said the roadshows “will take place in all nine provinces between February and March 2019 and the aim is to find a common understanding on this issue so as to finalise the SAMRO distribution rules in this regard”.

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