Photography by Rose McDevitt and Simone Smith
Words by Harry Potts
Ged Doherty is a British music and film industry executive. The chairman of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and BRIT Awards Limited and the co-founder of Raindog Films, Ged was previously the chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK.
Ged was born in Glasgow, and raised in Wythenshawe. He rebelled against his large Irish Catholic family – the eldest of nine, including seven sisters – by supporting Manchester City instead of United. “You have to have some front and know your facts. That ability comes from my childhood, from being part of a big family and from growing up in Wythenshawe.” A lifelong music fan, as a teenager he played drums in local prog rock bands before moving to study at Sheffield Polytechnic. Ged became the social secretary, booking bands at the university, including AC/DC, and Elvis Costello. Soon after he took on the challenge of booker at Sheffield Limit Club, which became the centre of the electro pop movement of the late 70s and early 80s.
After leaving Sheffield, Ged founded a management company, alongside other artists, he managed Paul Young and Alison Moyet. He was recruited by Epic Records in 1992; based in New York, he worked with among others, Michael Jackson and Oasis.
“I’m the person who gets wheeled in to have uncomfortable conversations, when an artist or actor isn’t performing, or a director’s misbehaving.”
In 1996 he was named managing director of Columbia Records UK and returned to London. From 1999 to 2006, Ged held top positions at Arista and BMG Music Group before becoming chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK where he worked with such artists as Calvin Harris, Beyonce and the Foo Fighters.
He was appointed chairman of BPI and the BRIT Awards in 2014, establishing Ged as one of most influential figures in British music.
In 2012, Ged co-founded Raindog Films Ltd, a film production company with actor Colin Firth. The company has enjoyed international box office success with their first two productions ‘Eye in the Sky’ and ‘Loving’. The company’s latest film ‘Official Secrets’ starring Keira Knightley Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith was shot in Manchester.
Ged is currently working with the Mayor’s office and UK music to help develop the long term music infrastructure for the Greater Manchester area. Most recently Ged was a judge at the recent inaugural ‘This is Manchester Awards’ which champions those organisations and individuals who have made a positive impact within the city and beyond. It seems Ged’s Mancunian ties are as strong as ever!
When we asked Ged where in the city he would like to be photographed, he said the
Ethiad Stadium the home of his beloved Manchester City. The shoot with Ged was a memorable experience. Photographing on location in the stadium was a challenge, having to deal with different types of light and shooting from difficult angles. Ged was relaxed and patient and encouraged us to take our time, putting us at ease. The whole experience was extremely positive. I think that both me and Simone managed to capture Ged’s down to earth personality. Working on this shoot has shown me the importance of getting to know your subject, communicating and having fun.
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)