Neil Young has been announced as the new CEO of Pono Music, the company he funded handsomely earlier this year via one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever. The news came late Friday via the Kickstarter page.
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Rick Cohen becomes Chief Operating Officer of innovative music ecosystem dedicated to “reconnecting your soul to music” by delivering music from the best available sources – including straight from the original studio masters .
In addition the company hires legendary recording engineer Bruce Botnick as Head of Content Acquisition.
PonoMusic, who is building a portable player and an online store that will enable listeners to experience music as its most profound and elemental level, announced today that Neil Young, the founder and visionary behind the company, will become its CEO. Rick Cohen will become the Chief Operating Officer.
“PonoMusic has been a mission of mine for many, many years, and I’m more passionate than ever about the prospects for its success. I want to use my time and abilities to bring the fullness of music, as the artists created it, to as many music fans as possible.
”Rick Cohen, who will be responsible for the operational side of the business, has been PonoMusic’s outside general counsel since its inception – and a special advisor to Neil for over a decade. He is an attorney with a deep business experience, having been the Chief Executive Officer of the California Teacher’s Retirement System, which at the time was the eighth largest pension fund in the U.S., with assets over $12 billion.
“I am thrilled to be taking on this role, and will work closely with Neil and the extraordinary PonoMusic team as we prepare for our consumer launch later this year” said Mr. Cohen .
The software and hardware teams within PonoMusic, led by Pedram Abrari and Phil Baker, respectively, will remain in place. Mr. Abrari, SVP of Technology, is a well-respected technology leader in Silicon Valley; Mr. Baker, VP of Product Development and Operations, has developed over 80 consumer technology products over many years of innovative work.
Bruce Botnik, whose storied career includes producing work with the Rolling Stones, the Doors and Love – as well as a partnership with film composer Jerry Goldsmith for over 100 movies – will be spearheading PonoMusic’s relationship with both large and independent labels. Content acquisition is core to the company’s strategic vision of a robust online store that enables PonoMusic’s extraordinary sound quality to transform as much music as possible.
John Hamm will be stepping down as CEO of the company. “I appreciated the opportunity to lead the company and support Neil’s mission. I remain an investor in the company and look forward to the continued success of the movement” said Mr. Hamm.
“We thank John for his efforts in advancing the company and its product for market launch” said Mr. Cohen.