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Theodora Zavin Announces Retirement From BMI

Posted in News on October 21, 2001
Theodora Zavin, Senior Vice President and Special Counsel to the President of BMI, has announced her retirement from the performing rights organization after nearly 50 years with BMI. She will leave her position, as well as her post as the President of the BMI Foundation, effective November 1, 2001.  

In accepting Zavin’s resignation, BMI President & CEO Frances W. Preston said: “Thea is the embodiment of nearly all of BMI’s history. She has been a leader in support of copyright protection on behalf of songwriters and publishers during her entire career. Her knowledge of BMI is encyclopedic and her humor is legendary. We will all miss her daily counsel but will continue to rely on her living history of BMI.”


BMI executives gather around Thea Zavin (seated center) to toast her incredible 50 year career with the company and to say good bye. Raising their glasses are (standing): Pat Baird, Naomi Bucci, Barbara Petersen, Marvin Berenson, Evelyn Buckstein, Ekke Schnabel, John Shaker, Del Bryant, Robbin Ahrold, BMI President & CEO Frances Preston, Ann Booth, Erica Gutman, Fred Cannon, John Cody, Gary Roth, Melanie Guelleme, Jean Banks, Teresa Connolly, (kneeling): Judy Saffer, Charlie Feldman and Ralph Jackson, who assumes the role as head of the BMI Foundation. photo: Dana Rodriguez

Mrs. Zavin joined BMI in 1952 as Resident Counsel and headed the company’s Legal Department for many years. She was later appointed Assistant Vice President, Publisher Relations, and in 1965 was named Vice President, Performing Rights. She held the position of Senior Vice President, Performing Rights from 1968 until assuming the Senior VP & Special Counsel post in 1986.

She started the BMI Foundation in 1985 and served as its President from inception. She played a key role in building the Foundation’s various endowment funds and established its grant programs.

Mrs. Zavin served as President of the Copyright Society of the USA and she was a member of the CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) Legal and Legislative Committee. She was also a member of the Copyright Office Advisory Committee.

For several years, Mrs. Zavin served as Co-Chairman of the Music Division of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and in 1976, was honored as UJA’s Executive of the Year. In 1994 she was honored by the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Division of the New York State Bar Association and in 1998, she received the Magic Baton Award from the Young Musician’s Foundation, presented to her by composer John Williams. In 1999 she was inducted into the Hunter College (NY) Hall of Fame and last year was given a special award by the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) for her contributions to the music publishing industry.