Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE appointed as Chair of leading youth music organisation, UD

Lord Adebowale CBE becomes Honorary President after 10 years at the helm as Chair.

Anne-Marie’s Spring shoot

London-based music organisation, UD (formerly known as Urban Development), recently announced the appointment of Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE as Chair with effect from 1 April 2023. Imafidon, a UD board member since 2012, assumes the role as Lord Victor Adebowale CBE steps down after ten years of Chairmanship, having steered the organisation through a period of significant development and growth. In recognition of his achievements and unwavering commitment to UD’s long term vision, Lord Adebowale becomes Honorary President.

Lord Adebowale’s tenure included the successful navigation of the organisation through the evolution of its name and brand from Urban Development to UD (United Development), as the wider music industry considered the appropriateness of the term “urban” in late 2020. Last year, emerging from the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, UD launched the Talent House, a £4.1 million state-of-the-art creative hub in Stratford, east London, shared with East London Dance. This was the culmination of a decade of work which saw UD become a strategic partner of the Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation, reflecting UD’s expertise and excellence in the delivery of educational and talent development opportunities for young people in music.

Announcing his decision to step down as Chair of UD, Lord Adebowale CBE said,

“It has been a privilege to work with Pamela and her team at UD through such a significant period in the music organisation’s history. There have been some real challenges to overcome, some bold decisions taken and many proud moments. The result, I believe, is that we have delivered real impact for young people from Black and underrepresented groups who live and breathe music and want to make it their primary career. That has been and continues to be our goal – as our mission statement says, we are unapologetic about Black music culture. Whilst I am stepping down as Chair, I look forward to continuing my support for UD, its mission and the team delivering this important work. I know that its future is in very capable hands for the next exciting stage of its journey with Anne-Marie as Chair.”

Having supported UD for more than ten years, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE’s appointment ensures a smooth transition as the organisation moves into its next phase of growth. Dr Imafidon is a leading ambassador for young women in technology and co-founder of the Stemettes, an award-winning social initiative dedicated to inspiring and promoting the next generation of young women in the STEM sectors. In 2022, she released She’s in CTRL, a guidebook for women to “take back tech”.

Throughout her career to date, she has held positions at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard and Deutsche Bank and holds Honorary Doctorates from the Open University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Kent University, Bristol University and Coventry University and an Honorary Fellowship at Keble College, Oxford. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland and sits on the Council of Research England. In 2022, Dr Imafidon was co-host of Channel Four’s popular daytime show, Countdown, providing maternity cover for Rachel Riley, and in December 2022 she featured as a guest editor of the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.

Speaking of her appointment Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE said,

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to pay tribute to Victor, who has been a real powerhouse for good at UD; we will miss his leadership, clarity of purpose and sincere commitment. I will seek to build on his achievements as Chair and am excited to be taking on this opportunity at a time when UD’s foundations are strong and its ambitions are fierce. For many years, I have been committed to empowering young people in STEM, particularly women, and now, working with Pamela, her team and the Board, I intend to bring just as much energy to the organisation’s goal to inspire and support young people in music and creativity.”

Founder and CEO of UD, Pamela McCormick, added,

“I am extremely grateful to Victor for his support, guidance and friendship over these past ten years and beyond. In addition to being a committed Chair, he has been an advocate, an ally and a mentor, and his commitment to UD’s vision and goals has been immeasurable. As he steps down, I look forward to working with both him and Anne-Marie to ensure a smooth transition, whilst continuing to drive forward the exciting activities UD has planned for next year. I would like to welcome Anne-Marie as Chair; her energy, experience and passion are amongst her many assets and I know she will be an inspiration to the young people we work with.”

Pamela McCormick from Urban Developments, London 10/05/2017. Photo by Chris Lopez