In this Chair Report, I would like to reflect on the significant achievements and challenges that the Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) Board faced in 2022. It was a year of transition, with the appointment of a new Chief Executive, the renewal of licensing schemes, and the implementation of various governance initiatives.
Emeritus Prof. Pat Walsh
The biggest challenge the Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) Board faced in 2022 was the need to appoint a new Chief Executive after Paula Browning advised the Board of her decision to stand down. Paula served in this role for just over 12 years and she did so by combining great strategic acumen with painstaking attention to detail, a rare and invaluable combination.
Paula built and sustained productive relationships with our shareholders the New Zealand Society of Authors and the Publishers Association of New Zealand, and with external stakeholders, notably key government officials, and she built and led a high performing team at CLNZ and inspired great loyalty and commitment from the members of the team.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Paula for her outstanding leadership and for the legacy she leaves us of a more resilient, agile and strategically focused CLNZ.
There is no more important decision for a Board than the appointment of a new Chief Executive and the appointment process absorbed the Board for several months. We were fortunate to attract a strong field and at the conclusion of the process the Board was delighted to be able to appoint Sam Irvine.
Sam’s broad experience equips him well for the leadership of CLNZ. His previous role as Managing Director of Badger Communications, and prior to that he was Chief Operating Officer of Isthmus Group Ltd and in senior roles at Freeview New Zealand Ltd, New Zealand’s free-to-air digital television and radio platform. Sam has proven capability engaging and leading complex shareholding businesses and has worked with boards of directors across a variety of different organisations. Sam began as CE on 17 October 2022 and quickly settled into the role.
In addition to the challenge of appointing a new CE, the Board had a typically busy year. We farewelled Graeme Cosslett after six years as one of the publisher directors. Graeme made a strong contribution to the Board. He brought deep knowledge of the sector and a rigorous future focus to our discussions, particularly with regard to emerging technologies and their implications for CLNZ. We were pleased to be able to appoint Mel Winder from Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand as Graeme’s successor.
In recent years, the Board has had a strong focus on ensuring adherence to good governance practice and this continued in 2022. The Board approved a revised Board Charter, established a Chair Transition Process to ensure an orderly and supportive transition from one Chair to another, revised the skills matrix for the appointment of a new Publisher Director, approved a new CLNZ Code of Conduct and revised the biennial Board Self-Review and Chair Review surveys.
The Board accepted a recommendation from the Audit and Risk Committee to terminate CLNZ’s relationship with its current auditors and to revert to our previous auditors. The Board considered the implications of CLNZ’s development of licensing services for visual artists and appointed a Visual Arts Working Group with representation from visual artists to advise the Board on service development for visual artists. The Board approved the renewal of the ITP and Wānanga licensing schemes and began consideration of the renewal of the Universities’ scheme.
In each of my last two Chair reports I have stated confidently that this would be my final year as a director of CLNZ and as its Chair. However, in 2021 amidst the Covid pandemic and associated uncertainties, the Board asked me to stay on for 2022 to provide continuity. In 2022, Paula’s decision to stand down from the Chief Executive role at CLNZ prompted the Board to ask me to stay on for another year to provide continuity for Sam Irvine as the new CE. I am completely confident that 2023 will be my final year as Chair and as a director.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve for nine years on the CLNZ Board, five of them as Chair, and to observe the development and maturation of CLNZ as an organisation. I would like to thank my fellow Board members, present and past, both CEs, Sam Irvine and Paula Browning, the CLNZ team, and the many people from the creative sector I have had the pleasure of meeting over my nine years on the Board.