Hipgnosis Song Management (HSM) has announced that Daniel Pounder will become the company’s next chief financial officer, replacing Chris Helm by the end of this year. HSM has also created a new position of general counsel, tapping Jonathan Baker for the job. Both join from BMG.
The news arrives after a number of personnel changes to the company in recent weeks, including Hipgnosis Songs Fund board chair, Andrew Sutch, and two other board members who either resigned or failed to win re-election to their seats.
Hipgnosis — which owns rights to songs by Journey, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and many more — is comprised of three branches: Hipgnosis Song Management, Hipgnosis Songs Capital and Hipgnosis Songs Fund. The latter of the three has been mired in controversy in recent weeks after it was announced that the London-listed trust would not pay its investors a dividend because of new, lower projections for revenue.
During a shareholder continuation vote on Oct. 26, where investors were asked to vote on whether they wanted to keep the investment trust going or liquidate the fund, selling $440 million worth of catalogs to the private side of the company — Hipgnosis Songs Capital — which is backed by Blackstone, more than 80% of investors voted in favor of the board drawing up “proposals for the reconstruction, reorganization or winding-up of the company to shareholders for their approval within six months,” the board said in a regulatory filing. “These proposals may or may not involve … liquidating all or part of the company’s existing portfolio of investments.”
In his role as CFO, Pounder will oversee the finances and investment functions of all three. He has over two decades of experience in music finance and accounting, including senior roles at BMG, Viacom, Famous Music and Sony Music Publishing. He completed his accountancy training with Deloitte and was admitted into the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 2003. By 2013, he was admitted as a fellow.
Current CFO, Chris Helm, will pass the responsibilities to Pounder over the next month and a half. According to a press release, the two will be “working closely” together to do a complete hand over until then. Helm will then be leaving to “launch a new business of his own early next year.”
Baker will oversee the legal affairs of the company’s catalog acquisition and day-to-day legal and business affairs for Hipgnosis. He will coordinate with the company’s outside counsel, including Bill Leibowitz, and will hold the responsibility for governance and compliance matters for the company and the fund’s clients.
Previous to this, Baker has 20 years of legal experience. He joins from BMG, where he has been general counsel in the U.K. and evp legal and business affairs international since 2012. Prior to that role, he worked at Simkins, a media and entertainment law firm.
Merck Mercuriadis, CEO and founder of Hipgnosis Song Management, says of the appointments: “It is always a priority for me to continually strengthen our executive leadership team to ensure we have the best institutional investment, finance and music capabilities and experience to deliver the next stage of development for Hipgnosis and our funds. This was the case starting with the appointment of Ben Katovsky as president and Chief Operating Officer one year ago and we’re delighted to welcome Dan and Jon to round out this process, particularly as this group of leaders have a proven successful chemistry of working together.
He adds, “Dan’s extensive experience and expertise in global music finance, ability to leverage data and technology and proven track record in supporting and enabling growing businesses will be of significant value to HSM and our fund clients as we work to further institutionalize the reporting and rigor of the song asset class. Likewise, Jon’s experience and expertise in global music legal affairs will support our funds while allowing us to prioritize responsible governane and compliance for Hipgnosis.”
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