David Harmsworth, PPL general counsel, died this morning (September 12) after a short illness. He was just 46.
“David was a much-loved figure in the music industry; a highly respected lawyer, a peerless colleague, and a friend to many. He leaves behind a legacy to be proud of,” said PPL in a tribute.
Harmsworth read Law at Cambridge University, and trained and worked at City law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw before joining the legal & business affairs team at PPL in 2003. He rose through the business, finally assuming the role of general counsel, leading the legal & business affairs team and sitting on the executive management team for over a decade.
“His impact during his 19-year career at PPL was huge, not least as a key member of the teams which led the 2006 merger of PAMRA and AURA with PPL to create a single home for performers and record companies, and the creation of the public performance licensing joint venture PPL PRS Ltd in 2018,” said the organisation.
David was my first appointment at PPL 19 years ago and he turned out to be one of the key people who created the PPL of today
His influence extended far beyond PPL. Alongside his role as PPL general counsel, Harmsworth was chair of the UK Music Rights & Legal Affairs Committee, a director of the British Copyright Council, chair of the BCC Collective Management Organisation and sat on the BPI Rights Committee.
He was a lifelong Arsenal fan, and a legendary baker – everyone wanted to be in the PPL office when he turned up with a cake.
Peter Leathem, PPL CEO, said: “David was my first appointment at PPL 19 years ago and he turned out to be one of the key people who created the PPL of today. An incredibly able lawyer, a thoroughly kind and conscientious friend and colleague. I will miss him greatly. His ability, and his friendly and collaborative nature made him very popular across the music industry and creative copyright world more generally, which is why he operated in so many external roles as well as his role at PPL. He will be missed by so many and my thoughts, and those of everyone at PPL, are with his wife Heather, his three young children and their families.”