Meet Kobalt

We’re a passionate team, deeply committed to reinventing the music industry so that it works better for creators.

Our Company

Our People

Our Leadership

Willard Ahdritz
Willard Ahdritz

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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Willard Ahdritz

Willard founded KobaIt in 2000. He has more than 20 years of global publishing experience, and eight years of consulting experience in corporate strategy at L.E.K Consulting. He also co-founded Telegram Records & Publishing in his native Sweden.

Willard holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rudbecksskolan in Orebro, Sweden, as well as a Masters in Finance from the Stockholm School of Economics, NYU Stern Graduate Division in New York. He Is a board member of the National Music Publishers Association and a Royal Society of the Arts Fellow. Willard lives in New York with his family.

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Avid Larizadeh Duggan

Chief Operating Officer

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Avid Larizadeh Duggan

Avid has been involved in the tech ecosystem as a developer, product manager, founder, investor, and adviser since 1998. 

Prior to Kobalt, Avid was a General Partner at GV.  Avid is a non executive director on the board of Barclays Bank UK PLC and a member of the Harvard Business School European Advisory Board. She has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Laurent Hubert

President & Chief Revenue Officer

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Laurent Hubert

Laurent joined Kobalt in 2016 in order to run its newly formed B2B rights management platform and investments division. Prior to joining Kobalt, he served as President, Marketing & Creative, at BMG, where he played a central role in reestablishing BMG as a global music powerhouse. Previously, he was the Worldwide COO for BMG Music Publishing. 

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Lonny Olinick

Chief Executive Officer, AWAL

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Lonny Olinick

Lonny joined Kobalt in 2016, with over 10 years of media experience. Prior to joining Kobalt, he held positions at RCA, Sony BMG and Bain & Company, in addition to running his own artist management company. He holds an MBA from Stanford.    

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Sas Metcalfe

Chief Creative Officer

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Sas Metcalfe

Sas joined Kobalt in January 2001 as its first employee. Her previous roles within Kobalt include Executive VP Creative and Creative Director. Prior to Kobalt, Sas spent three years as Head of A&R at EMI Records UK, and before that was Head of A&R at Warner Chappell Music Publishing UK. She started her career at CBS Records where she was a Marketing Assistant before moving to help set up independent record label Rockin’ Horse Records.

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Rian Liebenberg

Chief Technology Officer

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Rian Liebenberg

Rian Liebenberg joined Kobalt in 2018 as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He brings over 20 years of technology leadership experience in building scalable products, teams and businesses.

Prior to joining Kobalt, Rian was the CTO at Schibsted Media Group, served as CEO for a 3D mapping and location services startup, having previously worked as Director of Engineering at Google, and before that led all Engineering initiatives for lastminute.com

Rian studied Computer Sciences in Cape Town, and served as an Officer in the South African Navy. 

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Tom Sansone

Chief Financial Officer

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Tom Sansone

Tom joined Kobalt in 2016, after serving as Gilt Groupe’s COO & CFO, where he oversaw a period of unprecedented growth. Prior to that, he spent over a decade at “Big Four” public accounting firms, advising Fortune 500 companies, private equity clients, and startups in Tech, Media, & Telecom industries. He holds a BA from Gettysburg College, an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and is a certified CPA.

Ryan Wright
Ryan Wright

Chief Marketing Officer

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Ryan Wright

Ryan joined Kobalt in 2013. He brings over 20 years of experience in managing artists and brands globally, with deep expertise in marketing, PR, consumer insight, and brand partnerships. Ryan was previously Senior Vice President at Sony Music, leading the company’s global marketing group. Ryan has also held senior leadership positions at Sony BMG, BMG, Jive Records, and Samsung.

Jeannette Perez
​Jeannette Perez

President, Global Synch and Brand Partnerships

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​Jeannette Perez

Jeannette Perez joined Kobalt in 2014. With more than 14 years of experience, Jeannette has expertise in the art of creative music placement, business development, licensing, copyright, and valuation of music rights. Jeannette previously held roles in synch at Sony Music and RCA Records, as well as in Business & Legal Affairs at Sony BMG. Jeannette has a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law.

Marissa Mencher
Marissa Mencher

Chief People Officer

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Marissa Mencher

Marissa joined Kobalt in 2012, bring 20 years of human resources management experience in the music industry. She previously led human resources at Sony Music in North America. Marissa also worked at BMG Label Group, RCA Music Group, and J Records.

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James Fitzherbert-Brockholes

Chief Advisor

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James Fitzherbert-Brockholes

James – aka “Fitz”— joined Kobalt in 2001. He brought more than 15 years of experience in music publishing, and also worked as a consultant with L.E.K. Consulting, focusing on M&A and corporate strategy. He received an M.A. from Cambridge University

Simon Dennett
Simon Dennett

Chief Product Officer

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Simon Dennett

Simon joined Kobalt in 2006. He has more than 10 years of music industry experience, including leading strategic projects and new initiatives. Prior to joining Kobalt, Simon worked as a consultant across a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. from Bristol University

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Christiaan Winchester

Group General Counsel

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Christiaan Winchester

Christiaan joined Kobalt in 2005 as the Head of Legal and Business Affairs, before transitioning to his current role. Prior to joining Kobalt, he worked in the Music Group at Harbottle & Lewis, a leading West End media firm, for five years. Christiaan holds an LLB from Durham University and a LLM from Kings College London. He trained at Clifford Chance in the City of London, qualifying as a solicitor in 1999. In his spare time, Christiaan moonlights as a DJ.

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Alison Donald

Head of Creative (Publishing and Records)

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Alison Donald

Alison joined Kobalt in 2017 from Columbia Records UK where she was Co-President and worked closely with the likes of George Ezra, Tom Odell, Rag’N’Bone Man, The Civil Wars and The Vaccines. Before joining Columbia in 2011, she was MD at Chrysalis Music Publishing (2000-2010) where she signed and oversaw projects by the likes of Damon Albarn, Danger Mouse, The Gossip, Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling, Thom Yorke and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Alison was also Head of A&R at Warner/Chappell Music (1996-2000) where she signed The Strokes, and before that worked for Capitol/EMI Records for seven years. She began her career over three decades ago at Arista Records.

Paul Hitchman
Paul Hitchman

President, AWAL

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Paul Hitchman

Paul joined Kobalt in 2011, and brings more than 25 years of experience in the music industry. He was a co-founder of three prominent digital music companies: Playlouder, CI, and MSP. Prior to Kobalt, Paul also worked at BMG Music and Warner Music. He holds an Economics degree from Cambridge University. He is a Royal Society of the Arts Fellow, and has a history of curating many contemporary art projects. Paul got his start in the music business as a guitarist and record producer.

Scott Farrant
Scott Farrant

Head of Global Publishing Operations

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Scott Farrant

Scott has over 25 years of music industry experience working for major & indie music publishers, with collective management organizations and artist management across a broad range of areas including; operations, international, copyright, licensing, creative and business & project development which has given him a rounded overview of our industry. Previous positions include; COO of AMRA, MD of Kobalt Stim Aggregated Rights AB, Head of New Business, Head of Media Licensing & International Director at STIM and SVP Creative & International at Palan Music Publishing Limited. Scott has also having worked at BMG Music Publishing Limited, EMI Music Publishing and PRS,

Ann Tausis
Ann Tausis

Managing Director, Kobalt Neighbouring Rights

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Ann Tausis

Ann joined Kobalt in 2013 to head up Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, drawing on her more than 20 years of experience in rights management administration. This included holding a position as the Director of European Regional Administration at Universal Music Publishing. Prior to that, she was UMP’s Global Copyright Director

Johan Ahlstrom
Johan Ahlstrom

Chief Executive Officer, Kobalt Capital Ltd.

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Johan Ahlstrom

Johan joined Kobalt in 2010 to set up the first regulated investment fund dedicated to music royalty investments, Kobalt Capital Ltd. Prior to joining Kobalt, Johan was a founder and Director of CASE Advisors Ltd, a co-founder of Allianz Hedge Fund Partners, and a Director and Senior Marketing Officer at Citigroup. He holds a Master in Finance from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Jim Arnay
Jim Arnay

Senior Vice President Business Affairs, US General Counsel

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Jim Arnay

Jim joined in Kobalt in 2012. Jim was previously Senior Vice President, Business Affairs at Ultra Music, a leading independent label and music publisher. Prior to that, Jim was a music partner at the law firm of Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz & Weinstein.

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Sue Drew

General Manager, Creative & Acquisitions

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Sue Drew

Sue joined Kobalt in 2013. She was previously SVP, Membership and VP, Membership, Pop/Rock at ASCAP. Prior to that, Sue had over 20 years’ experience as an A&R person for Warner/Reprise, Chrysalis/EMI, Elektra and PolyGram Records. She began her career at Epic Records in the Media Relations department.

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Al McLean

Senior Vice President, Creative

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Al McLean

Al joined Kobalt in 2006 as one of the first employees in the U.S. In the last 5 years, he has branded Kobalt's business and awarness by opening nad running its Atlanta office. Prior to Kobalt, he held management and creative executive positions at Island Records, MBK Entertainment, Warner Bros. Reccords, and JB Music/H.O.L.A. Recordings.

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Sam Taylor

Senior Vice President, Creative

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Sam Taylor

Sam joined Kobalt in 2016. He was previously VP, A&R at Sony ATV and EMI where he signed and worked with Pharrell Williams, Schoolboy Q, Sounwave (Kendrick Lamar), FKi (Post Malone, 2 Chain), Dahi (Big Sean) and many more. Sam has also worked at Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, and Warner/Chappell Music publishing.

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Nick Robinson

SVP, Business Development, Creative

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Nick Robinson

Nick joined Kobalt Publishing’s Creative department in 2009. He joined from performing rights organisation BMI and before that was Head of A&R at EMI Records. That role followed an earlier career as a music journalist/News Editor at Music Week magazine, among other publications, and a spell in PR as Head of Press at Island Records.

Sam Winwood
Sam Winwood

Senior Vice President, Creative

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Sam Winwood

Sam has worked in A&R for over 20 years in both records and publishing. He started his career scouting for various labels before joining Sony S2 Records where he worked as A&R manager for 7 years. Sam then moved Kobalt Music some 15 years ago, and has worked across all aspects of the creative department ever since.

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Miller Williams

Senior Vice President, Creative

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Miller Williams

Miller joined Kobalt in 2012. He previously directed the start-up of Global Talent Publishing, building the company into one of the UK's Top 10 music publishers, representing artists like Martin Sjolie (Sigrid) and The Vaccines. He also licensed songs for major brand advertising campaigns, feature filmes, TV productions and computer games, and has held similar A&R/Creative positions at Sony ATV UK, BMG Records UK, PWL Records UK, and Terrace Music (Nashville).

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Kenny McGoff

Senior Vice President, Creative

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Kenny McGoff

Kenny joined KOBALT as part of the acquisition of SONGS in Jan 2018 where he worked as Head Of A+R. Kenny has also worked as Head Of A+R at EMI Music Publishing and set up his own company in a JV with SONY ATV. Kenny’s career roots were established working in independant record shops.

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Johan Ekelund

Managing Director, Nordics

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Johan Ekelund

Johan is the co-founder of independent record label Diesel Music and digital distributor Klicktrack. He has been with Kobalt since its inception in 2000 and is a board member. Prior to Kobalt, Johan spent more than 15 years in the studio as a producer and composer, achieving sales in excess of two million albums. Johan has held board seats in performing rights society STIM, the Swedish Society of Songwriters Composers and Authors SKAP, and the Swedish Independent Labels Association SOM. 

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Jesse Willoughby

General Manager, Kobalt Nashville

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Jesse Willoughby

Jesse joined Kobalt in 2014 to oversee the North American development of KNR before taking over the operations for the Nashville office in 2016. Previously he held positions in membership at ASCAP in both the Nashville and Los Angeles offices.

Matthias Kind
Matthias Kind

Managing Director, Germany

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Matthias Kind

Matthias has 20 years of global music publishing and artist management experience. He started his career 1995 at Polygram Music Publishing in New York and relocated to Germany in 1999 to launch the domestic publishing division of the PIAS Group. In 2004 he joined the Kobalt Music Group and established the groups German affiliate in 2008.

Nestor Casonu
Nestor Casonu

President, Kobalt Latin America

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Nestor Casonu

Nestor joined Kobalt in 2014, with over 35 years of experience in the music industry. Prior to Kobalt, Nestor was at the helm of both the recorded music and publishing side of EMI Latin America as CEO rolling out for the first time ever a Global Rights Management Model in the world, combining both structures in the region.

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Simon Moor

Managing Director, Australia & General Manager Asia

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Simon Moor

Simon opened the Sydney office as Managing Director in 2010, he was previously Head of A&R at both EMI Music and Sony/ATV. Simon guides and oversees the Publishing, Label Services and Neighbouring Rights divisions for AU/NZ markets. Most recently, Simon was appointed to the additional role of General Manager Kobalt Music Group Asia to establish Kobalt Music in this region, with the office based in Hong Kong.

Our Chairman

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Tim Bunting

Chairman of the Board

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Tim Bunting

Tim joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2007. He was previously a partner of Goldman Sachs where he spent 18 years. At Goldman, Tim held various roles including Global Head of Equity Capital Markets (2002 to 2005) and Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs International (2005 to 2006). Tim started to work with Balderton and its portfolio of companies in 2005. In 2006 Tim spent a period as non-executive chairman of Betfair. Tim is also a Governor of Wellington College and the Wellington Academy; a Trustee of the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Education: Tim is a graduate of the University of Cambridge.

Our Investors

We're fortunate to be backed by some of the best in the business. Here are some of our key investors...

Msd Capital
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Cape Capital
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Balderton

Blog

Learn more about our artists, services and how we’re changing the industry daily.

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