BMI swan song cued up for topper Preston

Bryant-Cody team to lead company

Frances W. Preston, the highest-ranking woman in the music industry, is ankling performing-rights org BMI. She’s handing the reins to exec VP Del Bryant.

Preston, president and chief exec of BMI for 18 years — and a 46-year veteran of the org — will assume the title of president emeritus. Preston, 69, said she “will offer my insights and counsel to BMI during a transitional period through the end of the year.”

Announcement was made Tuesday at BMI’s annual dinner at the National Assn. of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas.

BMI represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishing affiliates.

Bryant has been with BMI for more than three decades. He served throughout the 1990s as senior vice president of BMI’s writer/publisher relations and performing rights departments, where he has led the acquisition and development of BMI’s writer/publisher catalog. He has been leading the company’s efforts to set standards for royalty and copyright administration.

John Cody, who joined BMI in 1999 as chief financial officer and was appointed chief operating officer in 2002, will continue in his role; the Bryant-Cody team will take the helm at BMI in September.

“More than two years ago, the board and I began developing a strategic plan for the continuation of leadership in BMI’s management,” Preston said in a statement. “The first step in this carefully planned management transition came in the fall of 2002, when we named Del Bryant as BMI’s executive vice president and John Cody as chief operating officer.”

Preston joined BMI in 1958, opening a regional office in Nashville, Tenn., after working in the music and broadcasting industries in the country music capital.

She was appointed senior VP, performing rights, in 1985 and president-CEO in 1986. She is a member of BMI’s board of directors.

During her presidential tenure, BMI’s revenue has tripled to more than $625 million. The Preston era has seen a transformation of org’s business in which more than half of all revenues now are received from nonbroadcast sources.

Preston also serves as chair of the board of FastTrack, the international technical alliance of copyright organizations; she will remain in that role. BMI was one of the founding members of FastTrack in 2000.

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