Chairperson's Report 2023

Chairperson's Report 2023

2023 was another busy year for CLNZ, with some notable milestones as well as changes at the board level.

Chairperson Karun Shenoy

Pat Walsh stepped down as Chair after serving on our board for nine years as an independent director and as Chair for six years. Pat steered CLNZ through a period of change as well as challenging times, including the Covid years and a transition to a new Chief Executive. Pat was one of our first two independent director appointments and CLNZ’s overall governance capability has gone from strength to strength in his time. Pat set a clear strategic direction for CLNZ. He also worked very hard to ensure that the Chair and CE relationship was strong, and that the CE was both supported by, and challenged by, the Board. He was an inclusive Chair who spent time to ensure that the company’s relationships with its shareholders were sustained with both Presidents and CE’s and that CLNZ’s business was operated on a “no surprises” basis with NZSA and PANZ. Pat was also a great sounding board for me when I first joined the board, and more recently during the Chair transition process. I would like to thank Pat for his invaluable contribution and insightful guidance and for fostering a collegial working relationship within the Board.

Katherine Gordon also stepped down as a Shareholder Director from NZSA, after serving on the board for six years. Katherine also brought a substantial level of governance experience and led both the review of CLNZ’s Board Charter and the implementation of the Board self-evaluation process. Both were instrumental in developing CLNZ’s governance capability. Katherine was always a strong voice for authors and creators, including indigenous writers and artists. She brought the experience of CMO governance from another jurisdiction where the CMO and copyright had been under incredible pressure and worked hard to ensure that CLNZ remained fit-for-purpose in its operating environment. Katherine was a founder member of the Visual Arts working group which advises the Board on service development for visual artists. I would like to thank Katherine for her huge contribution, her deep knowledge of the sector, her wisdom and intellectual rigour, and being always ready to take on additional board work.

Pat and Katherine leave big shoes to fill, and we will miss their wisdom, insights, and depth of experience.

We were delighted to appoint two new directors – Rose Carlyle as Shareholder Director from NZSA and Victoria Spackman, as Independent Director for 2024. Rose brings an author’s perspective with strong connections to the NZ creative community and has a legal background from her previous professional experience in corporate law and as a Barrister Sole. Victoria has extensive governance experience and has been a Board member of Screenrights, is familiar with licensing, and has had significant involvement in the performing arts sector. We also appointed Yolunda Hickman as our Visual Arts Representative on the Board and Evo Leota-Tupou as our Board Intern.

2023 was Sam Irvine’s first full year as Chief Executive and Sam, and his team, chalked up a number of achievements. MyCreativeRights, a service that combines two key products to help creative practitioners maximise the value of their works was launched, with funding and support from Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. These two key products are branded as Catalogue (previously referred to internally as “Creative Rights Management Service”, which helps to safely document and store records of creative works, contracts and associated documents), and Legal Service (previously referred to internally as “Contract And Agreements Service”, which provides access to extensive copyright knowledge and subsidised legal assistance). In a world where we often hear of delays and cost blowouts in technology projects, this was an IT project which was delivered on time and within budget, which is a significant achievement.

We met our key targets of licensing revenue in 2023. We have also signed up with four auction houses as part of increasing our diversification in revenue streams. Sam has spent considerable time on relationship building with our shareholders, NZSA and PANZ as well as with Te Whakarōputanga Kaitiaki Kura o Aotearoa (formerly NZ School Trustees Association), The National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and Reproduction Rights Organisations (notably Copyright Australia and CCUSA). Sam has also been spending considerable time on the impact that rapid developments in AI may have on our business model – speaking at AI conferences, the IFFRO regional and global conference as well as advocating strongly for copyright matters via interviews on Morning TV, TVNZ’s “Fair Go” and RNZ National.

2023 was the first year that we prepared a Statement of Service Performance – this was reviewed by our auditors to confirm that it met the requirements of the External Reporting Board (XRB). We also reviewed and updated our three-year strategy which was adopted by the Board.

I would like to extend my thanks to my fellow Board members for their support, and to our Chief Executive Sam Irvine and his team for all their work resulting in another successful year for CLNZ.

For more information on 2023 at CLNZ, you can read our Annual Report here.

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