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"We felt it important to go wide and look at many candidates. There were qualified people from a variety of backgrounds for this post. In the end, Neil’s success in the industry, his knowledge of the Academy and the fact that he’s a really great person made him the ideal choice."
——Garth Fundis
NARAS KNEELS TO NEIL
West Coast Zomba Publishing Vet Named New Recording Academy President
The search officially ends now…as in Portnow.

Industry veteran Neil Portnow has been officially named President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The announcement was made by NARAS Board of Trustees Chairman Garth Fundis, who added, "Neil comes to us with superb credentials and a unique skill set that perfectly matches what we were looking for in a new president. Hey, Michael, did I read that the way you wanted?"

Fundis told HITS that despite the industry’s perception of Portnow as a frontrunner for the job, a number of players were considered. "We felt it important to go wide and look at many candidates," he said. "There were qualified people from a variety of backgrounds for this post. In the end, Neil’s success in the industry, his knowledge of the Academy and the fact that he’s a really great person made him the ideal choice."

Portnow’s official start date has not been determined. In fact, a deal has yet to be formally worked out between NARAS and its new chief. "It’s a matter of being chosen, but not officially hired," Portnow told HITS. According to one NARAS source, "He’ll start when Michael tells him to start and not a second sooner." Naturally, this has not been confirmed by HITS’ crack editorial staff.

The job Portnow assumes will encompass the same responsibilities as the one held by his predecessor, C. Michael Greene, who resigned in April amid allegations of sexual harassment. However, according to Portnow, "How the job is handled is obviously dependent on the style of the person who holds it. Michael had his own style. I am a different person and will bring a different style to the post."

Portnow anticipates greater interaction with Fundis and the NARAS board on a wide array of issues. "How deep that interaction runs will obviously evolve over time," he said.

"Michael answered to the Board of Trustees, as will Neil," Fundis told HITS.

Portnow is currently SVP West Coast Operations for the Zomba Group. Prior to Jive, he held posts at EMI, Arista and 20th Century Fox Records. Naturally, Neil is a Billboard subscriber.

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