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NEIL'S LAST DANCE

Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow will serve out the remainder of his tenure and then exit Grammyland in July 2019, the Academy has announced.

The announcement says that Portnow, who informed the Academy Board of his decision last week, will consult with the Board to map out the transition while continuing to lead the Academy and charity MusiCares and to serve as Chair of the Board of the Grammy Museum. It's expected that an Academy committee—possibly led by Board Chairman John Poppo—will convene to begin the search for his successor. The search would likely be handled by an outside executive-search firm, such as New York-based Korn Ferry, which the Academy has utilized in the past.

Portnow’s 16-year tenure as Academy chief has largely been a strong one, and he remains well-liked in the industry. His regrettable “step up” comment after this year’s Grammys shouldn’t overshadow his legacy of benign leadership and philanthropy. The organization, however, has been overrun by changes in the business and its processes have become overly politicized. Much of the unrest has centered on the awards show, which people care most about and which is problematic because of the charter of the Board of Trustees.

"The evolution of industries, institutions, and organizations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity, and success," reads Portnow's official quote. "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, and 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."

In a letter to members, Portnow added: "From our successes in music advocacy, to the growth of MusiCares, the establishment of the first GRAMMY Museum, the launch of the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition, and the continued celebration of our community's most inspiring creators, it has been an extraordinary journey. We can all be proud of what we've collectively done for the betterment of the creative community we love so dearly. And I continue to look forward to our mutual pursuit of excellence—in all that we are and all that we do."  

Will this latest development lead to the end of the secret nominating committee or a strengthening of internal control over the nominations, which has created a shitstorm for the Academy?

 

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