Hipgnosis Songs Fund Appoints Rob Naylor as New Board Chair

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Hipgnosis Songs Fund announced on Tuesday the appointment of Rob Naylor as board chair, replacing Andrew Sutch, who was removed as part of changes set in motion at last month’s shareholders meeting.

Naylor had been a top candidate, as Billboard sources indicated, and arrives at HSF following a tenure as board chair at Round Hill Music Royalty Fund, the public fund of Round Hill, which was recently sold to Concord as part of a $469 million sale. He is CEO of Intuitive Investments Group, a fund that invests in high growth life sciences companies, and held previous roles at JP Morgan Asset Management Limited, Panmure Gordon Limited and others.


Joining the board as a non-executive director is Francis Keeling, who held the same title at Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Limited until its recent sale. Keeling is currently executive vp of business development at Orfium, a rights management solutions company. A music industry veteran, he was previously global head of licensing at Spotify and before that, global head of digital business at Universal Music Group.

“On behalf of the Board, we are delighted that Robert and Francis have agreed to join Hipgnosis Songs Fund,” said Sylvia Coleman, senior independent director of HSF. “Robert and Francis’s appointments follow extensive engagement with shareholders, and their experience and knowledge working with investment companies, most notably at Round Hill Music Fund, will be invaluable to Hipgnosis as we look ahead to the next chapter.”

On Oct. 26, investors of the fund overwhelmingly demanded structural changes to the troubled music rights company — but in ways that don’t include selling off part of its 65,000-song catalog. More than 80% of Hipgnosis 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.

Investors also voted 71.5% against the re-election of Sutch, then-board chair, speeding up his departure, which was already set for 2024. Fund directors Andrew Wilkinson and Paul Burger also resigned as part of strategic review of its leadership.

In emailed comment following the shareholders meeting, founder Merck Mercuriadis framed the vote as “an opportunity to reset and focus on the future.”

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