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Recording Academy Prepares For Future Leadership Transition
Since 2002, the Recording Academy has achieved a period of prosperity and unprecedented growth under the leadership of President/CEO Neil Portnow, positioning the organization as the world's leading society of music professionals.
Today, the Recording Academy has announced that Portnow will begin preparing for a leadership transition after choosing to not seek an extension on his current contract. Throughout the next year, Portnow will work with the Academy Board to develop an organizational succession and transition plan, while continuing his current work as active President/CEO of the Recording Academy and MusiCares, and Chair of the Board of the GRAMMY Museum.
"The evolution of industries, institutions and organizations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity, and success," said Portnow. "Having been a member of the Recording Academy for four decades, serving as an elected leader and our President/CEO, I have not only witnessed our evolution, but proudly contributed significantly to the Academy's growth and stature in the world.
"When I had the honor of being selected to lead this great organization in 2002, I vowed that on my watch, for the first time in our history, we would have a thoughtful, well-planned collegial transition. With a little more than a year remaining on my current contract, I've decided that this is an appropriate time to deliver on that promise. Accordingly, I'll be working with our Board to put the various elements in place that will ensure transparency, best practices, and the Academy's ability to find the very best, brightest, and qualified leadership to take us into our seventh decade of operation. I truly look forward to continuing my role leading the Academy in the year ahead, and to continuing the pursuit of excellence and the fine missions we embrace and deliver."
Under Portnow's leadership during his 16-year tenure, the Recording Academy achieved several key milestones, including:
- Establishing advocacy as a hallmark of the Recording Academy's Washington, D.C., office, giving music creators a voice on Capitol Hill, and stressing the need to update dated federal music laws. Last month, after 15 years of advocacy work, and on the heels of the organization's GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards and Advocacy Day, the Music Modernization Act, which helps bring copyright laws and artist protection into the 21st century, was passed in the House of Representatives and introduced in the Senate.
- As the Recording Academy's leading charity, MusiCares will have provided more than $5.9 million to 7,900 members of the music industry in this fiscal year alone — marking the largest number of clients served and dollars distributed in a single year in the charity's history.
- The Academy opened the first GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles in 2008. The Museum has since expanded its presence domestically and internationally.
- A landmark 10-year broadcast deal with CBS to keep the GRAMMY Awards telecast — one of television's major entertainment events, ranking as one of the highest-rated and most-watched specials — on CBS through 2026.
- The expansion of the Recording Academy's telecast portfolio, which more than tripled the organization's television footprint with a number of new specials, including GRAMMY Salutes to Elton John, the Bee Gees, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, and Whitney Houston, as well as the PBS "Great Performances" series honoring GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and Special Merit Award recipients.
- In 2017, the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition united more than 30 of the nation's most forward-thinking music education organizations with the goal of increasing the number of youth actively participating in creating, playing, and performing music in U.S. public schools.
- After 58 years of traditional balloting, the GRAMMY Awards successfully implemented an online voting platform.
Portnow is the longest serving President in the Recording Academy's 60-year history. His contract is set to expire in July 2019.