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Greene, whose salary is reportedly in the $1.5 million range—making him the highest-paid executive in the non-profit realm—is expected to receive a severance package totaling as much as $8 million.

GREENE'S GONE AS NARAS CHIEF

His Exit Follows an Independent Investigation Into Sexual-Harassment Allegations
The Teflon is off the hot dog, as Chick Hearn might say. The L.A. Times' Chuck Philips finally got his man.

The 14-year reign of Michael Greene, the controversial NARAS President, is over. He resigned Saturday night, following an eight-hour emergency meeting at the Beverly Hilton Hotel attended by 38 of the 41 Academy board members.

Greene’s exit comes six months after the board hired an outside firm to investigate allegations of sexual harassment brought against Greene, most prominently last summer by Jill Geimer, a human-resources executive at the Academy who had been hired to monitor just such harassment complaints. Geimer settled for a reported $650,00, but the red flag she raised got the board’s full attention, eventually leading to the events of Saturday night.

Greene, whose salary is reportedly in the $1.5 million range—making him the highest-paid executive in the non-profit realm—is expected to receive a severance package totaling as much as $8 million.

The news of Greene’s exit was broken in a front-page L.A. Times story by Philips, whose series of exposes during the last several years have kept the heat on the controversial executive. Philips received a 1999 Pulitzer Prize for reporting about alleged financial discrepancies by Greene in connection with the organization's MusiCares Foundation, the amount of money designated to music-related charities and his own exorbitant salary.

 “After the findings,” Philips wrote, “Greene gave an emotional resignation speech in which he cited philosophical differences with the Grammy board and did not want to drag the organization through nasty litigation, according to Grammy sources close to the negotiations. A lengthy discussion followed Greene's speech, in which some board members voiced their support for the embattled executive. But the board ultimately accepted his resignation, Grammy sources said. After Greene left the room, the board voted to approve his severance package.”

Academy Chairman Garth Fundis, who had called for the investigation, will take over on an interim basis while a search for Greene’s successor is conducted. Fundis, a Nashville-based producer, draws no salary from NARAS.

The board had been discussing various courses of action since last fall, from a formal reprimand to a suspension. But nothing was done at the time to resolve the situation, in part because NARAS attorneys were concerned that if the board suspended Greene, he would sue. Instead, the independent investigation by P.I. Jack Palladino was greenlighted, with some on the board expecting that it would uncover grounds for Greene's dismissal.

During Greene's 14-year reign, the organization grew from 14 employees, 3,500 members and assets of $4.9 million to one that boasts 120 staffers, 17,000 members and more than $50 million in assets. Greene had just negotiated another five-year extension for the TV rights to the Grammys with CBS for more than $20 million annually.

Still, despite his successes, Greene's management style frequently came under fire. Last year, he decided to move the Latin Grammy Awards from Miami after local political leaders threatened protests, to L.A., where the show's planned Sept. 11 telecast was canceled following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Then, in December, the Grammy boss was sued by Dick Clark, who claimed Greene threatened artists not to perform on the industry legend's American Music Awards by refusing to allow them to appear on the Grammys.

On Oct. 26 of last year, hitsdailydouble cited “a growing consensus among the board members that Greene is out—it's just a matter of time before he topples.” A half-year later, that time has come.

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