William Bowes is set to leave Cambridge University Press to become the Publishers Association’s new general counsel and director of policy, saying there is “urgent work” to be done.
The trained solicitor has been general counsel and company secretary at CUP since 2011, specialising in copyright. He takes up the new role at the PA following the departure of Susie Winter to Springer Nature. Winter held the role of director of policy and communications at the trade body and while Bowes will take on the policy function of that role, the PA said an announcement will be made in due course about the future of the communications brief.
Bowes has worked closely with the PA before, as chair of its International Board and before that, chair of the PA’s Academic, Professional and Learning Publishers Council.
In taking up the post, Bowes said there was “urgent” work to do on issues including freedom to publish, explaining the benefits of copyright and campaigning for a free and open trading environment.
"We are all used to managing the business implications of the law as it stands today, but political events, judicial developments and technological trends mean that we must also grapple with what it might be tomorrow," he said. “There is a lot of urgent work to do, including explaining the benefits of copyright, playing our part in ensuring online is a safe place to enjoy and create content but also one where fair trade can take place, fighting for the freedom to publish and campaigning for a free and open trading environment that enhances global interconnectedness for author and reader communities of which we are a part.
He added: “I'm looking forward to helping publishers tell their story to decision makers and opinion formers, to ensure that the UK remains the world's great meeting place for all those involved in creating, making, and sharing the best stories and most useful content.”
Chief executive of the PA, Stephen Lotinga said it was a “real achievement” to attract someone of Bowes’ talent to help support its members.
“In Will we feel we have found someone who is not only an exceptional lawyer but fundamentally understands the challenges the publishing industry faces and the best way to address them,” he said. “He brings with him a wealth of experience, commitment and knowledge and we look forward to putting that to use for the benefit of our whole industry.”
Before joining CUP, Bowes qualified as a solicitor as part of the intellectual property team at Wragge & Co (now Gowling WLG) in London. He has subsequently worked with Penguin Books and Informa PLC and in 2015 was listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100.