Simon Lake. 

Screenrights chief executive Simon Lake, who has headed the organisation for two decades, has resigned in order to deal with a serious health issue.

Under Lake’s leadership, the copyright society has grown to have 4,000 members in 60 countries. Last year, it paid more than $40 million to rightsholders.

Screenrights chair Jill Bryant said it was with great reluctance that she had accepted Lake’s resignation: “On behalf of the board, management and staff, I wish Simon well for his recovery and thank him wholeheartedly for his tremendous leadership of the company and all the significant achievements of the past 20 years. Simon has driven Screenrights to become an important part of the Australian and New Zealand production industry supporting the development of film and television and advocating for a strong copyright environment for our members. At the same time, Screenrights is at the forefront of promoting access to audio-visual content for users.”

Lake said: “It has been a great privilege to serve Screenrights’ members and I am particularly proud of the relationships we have built with our licensees. This has been a difficult decision for me as I have loved my time at the company and am proud of its many achievements.

“I leave Screenrights confident in the future of the organisation. Screenrights is a successful and unique organisation and it is in very safe hands with a strong Board and outstanding management and staff. I wish it every success.”

Screenrights general manager, James Dickinson, has been appointed as acting chief executive by the organisation’s board.

Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner thanked Simon Lake for his dedication to the screen industry. “In his time at Screenrights, Simon led and grew a successful organisation through a period of significant change. He defended the screen industry’s copyright and worked hard to ensure a strong copyright environment for SPA’s members to exploit their creative endeavours. The screen industry is grateful for Simon’s leadership and courage. We wish him well in his recovery.”