SOCAN Announces Several Leadership Changes, Including New CMO and VP of Member & Industry Relations

SOCAN has announced several leadership changes, including Jean-Christian Céré as chief membership officer, and Vanessa Thomas as vice president of member and industry relations, as the nonprofit music and visual arts rights and royalties company continues the renewal of its strategic vision for its more than 175,000 members.

The new hires follow the recent departures of Mike McCarty, the who was CMO for seven year, and Rodney Murphy, who spent 17 years with SOCAN in various artist relations capacities. They both left to form Kilometre Music Group earlier this year.

Céré (pictured, above left) expands upon the chief membership officer role that was vacated last November by McCarty. Fluently bilingual, he will be based in the company's Montréal office, and oversee a department of more than 35 full-time staff. The PRO says he will build a new strategy that will deliver more for songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists. He officially joins SOCAN on June 28th.

With more than 15 years of executive experience, including General Manager of the Society of Authors and Composers of Quebec (SPACQ) from 2003-'12, Jean-Christian Céré collaborated with SOCAN and SOCAN Foundation frequently. With a law degree specializing in copyright and a Master of Business Administration, he has earned a reputation for his passion for creator rights, positive leadership, and innovative thinking. He was most recently general manager at Astec Industries Inc. and, before that, president of Casavant Frères, a designer and manufacturer of musical instruments.

Vanessa Thomas (pictured, above right) moves into the new role of VP of member and industry relations role after serving as executive director of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF). With the CSHF, which is wholly owned by SOCAN and operated at arms' length, Thomas elevated the stature of the nonprofit organization with a multitude of inductions of legendary songs and songwriters in both French and English. Before joining the CSHF, she spent 15 years in California working with major broadcasters both on and off air, and ran Gavin Magazine, a well-known broadcast industry trade publication. Thomas returned to Canada as Managing Director of Nielsen Entertainment Canada, and then promoted to Senior Vice President, North America Nielsen Music, a position she held for 12 years. She and her team of 14 worked with the music industry, performing rights organizations and broadcasters on both sides of the border. She then opened Songza Canada's offices and later led business development for Rdio.

In her new role with SOCAN, Vanessa Thomas will work with the company's team of A&R and event management professionals, expanding the development of emerging talent in music creation. She officially starts her SOCAN career on June 14th.

"Jean-Christian Céré brings even more focus, professionalism, and strategic direction to our Membership team and SOCAN overall, and Vanessa Thomas's team-building and networking abilities are renowned," said SOCAN interim CEO Jennifer Brown. "At our last annual general meeting, we promised a sharper member-centric approach to all that we do. Jean-Christian and Vanessa deliver on that strategy and amplify our commitment to our Francophone members and stakeholders, extending partnerships and collaboration throughout Canada's music and cultural industries."

The company recently created a Strategic Solutions & Analytics Team, welcoming Alan Triger as its head. The group has a mandate to develop new digital products and services for SOCAN members, licensed businesses, employees, and other stakeholders. The Strategic Solutions & Analytics Team will manage existing projects, such as the company's new Member Portal, and deliver new solutions that address and anticipate the constantly changing needs of SOCAN's key constituents. Triger brings with him three decades of leadership and expertise as a senior executive and business intelligence expert working in the music industry, including an accomplished 26-year tenure with Warner Music Group.

SOCAN also announced that Chief Operating Officer Jeff King will leave the company after June 4th. Following a re-organization of much of SOCAN's operations, the decision was made to remove the COO role. Geneviève Côté will also depart SOCAN after June 4th. SOCAN's Quebec affairs will be fulfilled in part by Céré.

"Thank you to Jeff King and Geneviève Côté for their service to SOCAN and their numerous contributions over the years," Brown added. "We wish them nothing but success for the future, and no one can ever doubt their commitment to and belief in fair and equitable rights for music creators, visual artists and music publishers."

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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