Bob Shennan, BBC Group Managing Director, has been elected to the position of Chair at Help Musicians from April 2022, marking the start of an ambitious new chapter for the 100-year-old charity. 

Commenting on his new role, Bob said: The last twelve months have shown just how important and essential the work of Help Musicians really is for the wellbeing of the musical creative community. I feel honoured to have been asked to chair this vital charity in its next exciting chapter.”

Bob has held senior BBC music positions for decades and has led across the breadth of the BBC’s music radio programming during his career. Having served as Director of Radio & Music before becoming Group MD, Bob’s remarkable professional experience and passion for music means he’s expertly placed to ensure the charity continues to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians for many years to come.

Graham Sheffield CBE, Help Musicians current Chairman will step down in April 2022, after eight impassioned years at the helm. Commenting on his tenure and Bob’s arrival, Graham said: I am delighted to welcome Bob, as well as four outstanding new trustees onto our Board. Bob will join as Chair-Elect, taking over from me at the next AGM in April 2022. I know that Bob’s love of music, experience of music, and connections through music will serve the charity excellently in the next phase of its development. It will be a pleasure working with him during my last year as Chair and I wish him and our new trustees a productive and inspiring tenure on the Board. Help Musicians is a truly great national charity, and I have been proud to serve as its leader over the last eight years, during times of both huge expansion and exceptional challenge.”

Also confirmed during Help Musicians’ 2021 AGM, were the appointments of four new music industry professionals as Trustees to the charity’s evolving Board. Representing a breadth of specialist subjects and genres, the highly experienced four are:

  • Brighton-based Judah Armani is the founder of Public Service, a social design practice, improving lives through innovation by co-creating projects that affect community change. He established InHouse Records UK, the world’s first record label to be launched in a prison and run by prisoners.
  • Respected lawyer and digital expert Cliff Fluet, partner at Lewis Silkin LLP. Cliff advises major names in media, entertainment and technology and founded and leads Lewis Silkin’s Media & Entertainment group and its complementary service, Eleven. Cliff also brings extensive experience with charities in the creative industries.
  • Electronic music lover Silvia Montello has 30 years of marketing, commercial and operational experience, and currently works at Audio Network as Head of Operations. Silvia is passionate about nurturing new songwriter & producer talent from under-represented areas though her label #remarqabl.
  • Stephen Swift has been a co-opted member of Help Musicians’ Finance and Audit Committee since 2018. Stephen spent 25 years as an international stockbroker before becoming a founding employee at Artorius, an independent wealth advisory business. Stephen played trumpet in the NYO, many years ago. These days his son plays his trumpet, while Stephen has moved into the role of amateur pianist.”

The new appointments fall in the charity’s centenary year and follow its largest ever support effort; delivering £14.7m of Financial Hardship Funding to over 19,000 musicians during the pandemic in 2020 – a financial support effort that is now in its fourth phase and still supporting 3,200 musicians monthly. 

The charity’s decisive work during the pandemic has brought it to the fore. In order to support musicians rebuilding their careers it is expanding the Music Minds Matter mental health work, growing its mentoring network and increasing access to musicians seeking support for creative development. In this, its Centenary year, Help Musicians is firmly facing forwards, committed to delivering more impactful and proactive support to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians.