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A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly
Voting in the packed hall of the Bierhübeli in Bern during SUISA’s General Assembly on 22 June 2018.
Photo: Manu Leuenberger
Text by Dora Zeller
On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly.

Swiss Ländlermix, an ad hoc group consisting of Bruno Brodt, Jost Ribary, Dani Häusler, René Wicky, Robin Mark, Jacqueline Wachter, Kurt Albert and Stefan Schwarz, opened the General Assembly with a surprise folk-music medley. This cross-section of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music got the public into the proper mood for the meeting.

Swiss Laendlermix
The General Assembly opened on a musical note with a medley of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music by the ad hoc group “Swiss Ländlermix”. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Before the statutory business, a short film was presented showing the social media platforms launched at the beginning of the year. Apart from the SUISAblog, there are now SUISA Music Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.

After the film, the General Assembly approved the annual report, management report, financial statements, cashflows, Notes and auditor’s report for the 2017 financial year. The Board and the Auditor were granted discharge for the reporting year, and the auditing mandate was renewed for 2018.

Amendment of the Articles and election of the Complaints Committee

The main business of the Assembly was the amendment of the Articles of Association. Andreas Wegelin explained why the Articles should be aligned with the Liechtenstein Collecting Societies Act and the EU Directive on Collective Rights Management (CRM Directive). He mentioned the main changes, namely: non-discrimination rules, additional powers to the General Assembly, and greater influence for members. After various suggestions, questions and clarifications, the General Assembly approved the proposed amendments with no negative votes.

The General Assembly also approved the list of candidates for election to the new Complaints Committee. Board members Marco Neeser and Christian Fighera, as well as Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer as external representative (Vice President of the Federal Competition Commission), were elected by a large majority. The same applied for substitutes Roman Camenzind and Zeno Gabaglio (both members of SUISA’s Board) and for external representatives Daniel Alder and Gregor Wild (both attorneys-at-law and members of the Federal Arbitration Commission). Bernhard Wittweiler, Head of SUISA’s Legal Department, was designated Chair of the Complaints Committee. He is a member ex officio of the Complaints Committee and does not have to be elected by the General Assembly.

Natalie Riede
Publisher Natalie Riede (in the picture), a representative of the Swiss electronic music scene, was elected to the Distribution and Works Committee. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Natalie Riede was elected to the Distribution and Works Committee where she replaces Guido Röösli. Through her publishing house, Black Music Management, Natalie Riede has been member of SUISA since 2014; her main focus is on electronica and she represents the Swiss electronic music scene.

In her presentation as Guest Speaker, Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform, outlined the activities of the five collective administration societies from the formal, statutory perspective, from the consensual contract- and Articles-based perspective, and from the factual angle.

SUISA’s Executive Committee reported on the 2017 business year. On the podium, from left to right: Irène Philipp Ziebold, Vincent Salvadé, President Xavier Dayer, Vice-President Marco Zanotta and Andreas Wegelin at the lectern. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Vincent Salvadé and Irène Philipp then provided information about the current business year. Andreas Wegelin reported on the Mint Digital Services joint venture and explained a number of current political developments which were liable to impact SUISA’s business activities. Lastly, Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA, reported on the business year of SUISA’s foundation for musical promotion.

SUISA’s President, Xavier Dayer, closed the General Assembly, which had been as substantial as it was interesting, at about 2 pm. He indicated that the next General Assembly would be held on Friday, 21 June 2019, in Biel.

After the meeting, participants were invited to a buffet lunch in the garden of the Bierhübeli, where they had the opportunity to exchange views and pursue discussions with other participants and with SUISA staff members.

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