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7digital gets a new CEO as Simon Cole steps down


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B2B digital-music firm 7digital is to get a new leader, after CEO Simon Cole announced plans to step down. His replacement will be John Aalbers, the former boss of Arts Alliance Media.

Aalbers will replace Cole on 1 April, and will also join 7digital’s board. Cole said that today’s news is a planned transition, albeit one that was delayed due to the recent process of negotiating a €4m settlement with German retailer MediaMarktSaturn, related to its Juke music service.

“This transition was planned last year when we felt that 2018 would mark the successful growth into profitability after four years. In the end, the events surrounding MediaMarktSaturn’s sudden strategic changes in December had a profound effect on the company and I felt I could not leave until that position was resolved and satisfactory settlement had been achieved,” said Cole in a statement today. “Now that has been done, I leave 7digital in good shape and in good hands.”

7digital’s chair Dan Cruickshank thanked Cole for his work as CEO, a role he took on in 2014, after the company’s reverse-merger with radio firm UBC Media. He also welcomed Aalbers.

“His career is distinguished with success in a number of not dissimilar challenges to those facing 7digital, all based on sector-focused software and platform services. The board looks forward to working with John to build the company both in scale and scope of business,” said Cruickshank.

Cole will be “concentrating on his other business interests” according to the announcement of his departure. Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR is likely to figure prominently, with Cole appointed as senior non-executive director for that company in December 2018.

Stuart Dredge

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