The Musicians’ Union (MU) has appointed Paul Reed, former CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), to head up its North of England region.

Reed joins the MU on 21 November, nine years after joining the AIF as general manager. AIF said Reed had a transformative impact on the association, which has seen its membership grow from 40 to 95 under his leadership.

He was appointed CEO of AIF in March 2018, and in the same year he led an operational restructure that saw AIF switch from being a division of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) to an autonomous company.

This appointment follows Matt Wanstall, previously the MU regional organiser for the North of England, becoming the Union’s assistant general secretary. The organisations’ leadership team – which works closely with its elected executive committee – is now made up of the general secretary and two assistant general secretaries.

Reed said, “I have long admired the Union’s vital work and it is crucial that musicians are supported and represented. They are facing a myriad of challenges and their work underpins our entire industry.

“On a personal level, it is fantastic to be working for an organisation that my grandfather, as a trumpet player, was a member of for most of his life. I look forward to working alongside the team to advance and protect the interests of MU members across the North of England, returning to the region where I started my career. I can’t wait to get started.”

MU general secretary Naomi Pohl said, “Paul has been a great advocate for the festival sector, and we know he will be an invaluable asset to MU members. In his new role, he will represent almost 6,000 musicians in the North of England, including nine orchestras, in an area spanning from Cheshire in the West to Grimsby in the East, from Manchester to Newcastle, and including the Isle of Man.

“I am also thrilled that Matt Wanstall has joined the Union’s leadership team. His experience will be crucial as we tackle challenges including the ongoing impact of Brexit, arts funding cuts and the cost of living crisis.”