Company president steps down after 15 years

Marilyn Bergman is stepping down as president and chair of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers after 15 years.

Decision comes as the org’s topper has recently taken on more music projects with her writing partner and husband, Alan Bergman, that require her attention.

“Alan has always been supportive of the time that my ASCAP presidency required, but with so much exciting work before us, I feel it’s time that I fully devote myself to my first calling: writing,” Bergman said.

Bergman was the first woman to be elected to the ASCAP’s board of directors. During her tenure, she helped the org increase its membership from 55,000 when she became prexy in 1994 to the current total of more than 350,000.

During that period, Bergman had a strong presence on Capitol Hill, helping persuade the Supreme Court in 2003 to uphold the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which extended copyright protection by 20 years. She also lead ASCAP’s lobbying effort to secure the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998; it brought the U.S. in line with World Intellectual Property Organization treaties and strengthened music copyrights on the Internet.

Most recently, Bergman played a key role in the launch of a Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers, an ASCAP advocacy and awareness-building initiative designed to remind the public, the music biz and Congress of the central role and rights of music creators.

She also has been a strong supporter of educating young people about the creative process and piracy through a number of school programs.

ASCAP will elect Bergman’s successor during its next meeting later this month. She will continue to serve as an active board member.

“From the moment she assumed the role of president and chairman of the board, Marilyn worked tirelessly on behalf of our membership to the benefit of all music creators,” said ASCAP chief exec John LoFrumento. “She has been tremendously effective in helping ASCAP anticipate the changing needs of our members, particularly given the immense shifts that have occurred in music, technology and society as a whole over the past decade.”

Bergman is a three-time Oscar-winning songwriter, for “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “The Way We Were” and “Yentl.”

The Bergmans recently completed work on Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant” with composer Marvin Hamlisch and are currently working on two musicals, one with Hamlisch and one with Michel Legrand.

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