Nearly a year after Neil Portnow announced he would step down as president and CEO of the Recording Academy, his replacement has been revealed: Deborah Dugan, the CEO of the nonprofit AIDS organization (RED), will succeed the outgoing president, Billboard reports.
Portnow, who spent 17 years at the helm of the Recording Academy and the Grammys, said in May 2018 that he would leave the organization when his contract expired in July 2019.
“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,” Portnow said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Billboard reports that Dugan, who worked at Disney Publishing and EMI/Capitol Records prior to (RED), recently received the majority of votes at a Recording Academy board meeting to become the organization’s president and CEO, the first time in the Recording Academy’s history that a woman has permanently held that role. The Recording Academy has not yet officially announced Dugan’s appointment.
Portnow’s departure comes in the wake of a pair of controversies surrounding the outgoing president, including his now-infamous remarks telling female artists to “step up” if they want to be better represented in the business as well as accusations that Portnow steered MusiCares funds in 2018 to cover the expensive Grammy production.