Former Canadian Music Centre Executive Director Elisabeth Bihl has stepped in to helm the Canadian Music Publishers’ Association (CMPA) following the departure of Catharine Saxberg, who recently joined SOCAN as the society’s new Head of International Relations.
Bihl has relinquished her seat on the CMPA board to assume the Executive Director’s job on an interim basis.
“Elisabeth has something else on the horizon later in 2014, but she had six months available, so she volunteered to take the post on an interim basis,” explains CMPA President Jodie Ferneyhough.
Ferneyhough says Saxberg’s resignation was a “shock” but with Bihl agreeing to step in temporarily, the CMPA board has elected to strike a transition committee and clearly define its future goals before considering a long-term replacement for Saxberg, who steered the Association for nearly nine years.
“Elisabeth can keep us moving, keep opening doors until we know what the next move should be.” – CMPA President Jodie Ferneyhough
“Catharine was with us for my entire time as President,” says Ferneyhough. “She did an excellent job and we wish her well at SOCAN. We’re not sure at this point whether our next Executive Director should be a seasoned veteran who really understands lobbying or whether it should be someone younger who will bring a different energy and focus to the job.”
Ferneyhough adds that the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA, owned by the CMPA) is also in transition following the departure of longtime President David Basskin and the ascension of his second-in-command, Caroline Rioux, to the top spot there.
With so many changes unfolding at once, Ferneyhough says he and his fellow directors are grateful for the opportunity to “take a breath and find the right person.”
For the time being, Ferneyhough says Bihl “is the perfect candidate because she’s already in the circle, and she’s been an Executive Director and knows how to work with boards. It puts us in a great position to continue the work we’re doing. There’s not a lot of lobbying that needs to happen right now but there’s a ton of other work that demands the attention of an E.D. Elisabeth can keep us moving, keep opening doors until we get to the point where we know exactly what the next move for CMPA should be.”
Late last year Bihl announced she was leaving the Canadian Music Centre after 14 years, during which she modernized the organization, oversaw the digitization of its music library, and lead a fundraising campaign and a major renovation of the Centre’s national headquarters, a heritage property in downtown Toronto.
“It’s called leaving on a high note,” says Bihl with a laugh. “We also did a strategic plan so the Centre is ready for the future. It was time for me to find new sandboxes to play in.”
Bihl has agreed to help shepherd the expansion of the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, founded by veteran artist manager Ann Summers, but for now her commitment is to the CMPA.