Monday 30 March 2020 2:11 pm

UK Music appoints former Labour MP Tom Watson as chair

UK Music today said it has appointed former Labour party deputy leader Tom Watson as its new chairman.

Watson, who also served as shadow culture secretary during his two-decade stint in parliament, said his priority would be to secure support for the music industry during the coronavirus crisis and help steer the sector back to growth.

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“In ordinary times, the UK’s commercial music sector contributes £5.2bn to the UK economy and supports 190,000 jobs,” Watson said.

“The cancellation of live music events has devastated the sector. Thousands of jobs are now in peril and threaten the long-term bottom line of the UK economy.”

He added: “Our urgent task is to work with our colleagues and partners in government to support the national effort to defeat coronavirus, whilst protecting the jewel in the crown of British culture – commercial music.”

Watson succeeds outgoing chair Andy Heath, who leads the Beggars Group record label and has served as head of UK Music since 2008.

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Heath said Watson would be a “fantastic advocate for the music industry and fight for its future at what is an immensely difficult time”.

UK Music, which represents the commercial music industry, said acting boss Tom Kiehl will remain in his role during the recruitment process for a new chief executive.