Executive Shuffles: Sonicbids, Merlin, Universal Music Japan…

  • Panos Panay is stepping down as CEO of Sonicbids on November 15th. Panay founded Sonicbids 13 years ago. He will continue to be a senior adviser to both Sonicbids and Billboard. Ten months ago, Sonicbids was purchased by Backstage LLC for $15 million; the deal was backed by Guggenheim Partners.
  • Martin Mills has been re-elected chairman of the board at Merlin, a global rights agency for indie labels. Mills is the founder of Beggars Group. There are also other changes on Merlin’s 15-seat board, based on their biennial election process.  They include:
    • Erik Gilbert of Essential Music & Marketing USA and Ashley Whitfield, owner of Evolution Ltd., are first-time board members.
    • Non-voting observers added: Kris Gillespie (General Manager, Domino Recording Co.), Darius Van Arman (Co-Owner, Secretly Label Group), Emmanuel de Buretel, (Founder, Because Group), and Oke Goettlich (General Manager, Finetunes).
  • Naoshi Fujikura has been promoted to President and CEO of Universal Music Japan, effective 2014.  Fujikura was previously president of domestic labels. He will report to Max Hole, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group International.


Pictured: Panos Panay’s first Sonicbids call