ARIA has delivered on its promise to boost representation of women on its board. The trade body on Monday welcomed to its board four new directors, all female, following sweeping changes to ARIA’s constitution which were ushered-in to better reflect the diversity and inclusiveness of the domestic recorded music industry.

Joining the ARIA board is Libby Blakey, Business Affair Director at Warner Music Australia; Karen Don, Senior Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, Australia and New Zealand at Universal Music Australia; Sophie McArthur, General Manager, Digital & Business Development Australia, New Zealand & Asia at Sony Music Entertainment; and Natalie Waller, Head of ABC Music & Events.

Blakey, Don, McArthur, and Waller take their position on the board alongside existing directors Denis Handlin (Chair, Sony Music Australia), George Ash (Universal Music Australia), Sebastian Chase (MGM), Niko Nordstrom (Warner Music Australia) and David Vodicka (Rubber and AIR Chair).

Also, ARIA has announced Emily Crews, Head of Synchronisation at Warner Music Australia, as the inaugural participant for the ARIA Observership program. Crews is invited to observe all ARIA board meetings this year, through a new program that fast-tracks a “rising talent” within the peak body’s membership by encouraging them to study the fundamentals, principles and functions of boards, decision-making processes and corporate governance.

“ARIA is delighted to welcome Libby, Karen, Sophie and Natalie to the ARIA Board and we congratulate Emily Crews on her selection in the ARIA Observership program,” comments Handlin in a statement. “Each of these quality executives will bring valuable additional perspectives and experiences that will further advance and benefit the board and industry as a whole.”

The first ARIA board meeting for the year took place on Thursday Feb. 7.

ARIA Board
ARIA Board

Today’s announcement follows the approval last November of major changes to ARIA’s constitution, which potentially doubles the size of the board. With those changes, each of the majors will have two seats on the board, enabling them to appoint a diverse member of their team to be the second seat on the board.

Handlin, ARIA CEO Dan Rosen and their industry colleagues and associates welcomed the move as one that would create opportunities to boost the representation of women on its board which, historically, had just two female board members, Vicki Gordon and Bonita Boezeman.

The board is now allowed to directly appoint both an additional ARIA member director (a non-major label member), and an independent (non-member) director “when considered beneficial,” according to an earlier statement from ARIA.

With these new rules,  implemented earlier this year, it was hoped the additional directors would “reflect inclusiveness, diversity and target particular experience or skill sets.”

In a memo issued late last year, Handlin commented, “Broadening participation and diversity on the ARIA board is an important step in ensuring the board is truly representative of its members, with the additional perspectives and experience brought to the table to be a great benefit to the board and the industry as a whole.”