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The Recording Academy has appointed Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Panos A. Panay as co-presidents.
Effective Aug. 16, Butterfield Jones and Panay will join Chief Operating Officer Branden Chapman and Chief Industry Officer Ruby Marchand as part of the leadership team that will work under Recording Academy President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr.
As co-president, Butterfield Jones — who currently serves as the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Recording Academy and will continue her exisiting responsibilites— will oversee the Recording Academy’s people and culture, membership, and awards and related initiatives. She previously served as the Global Head of Inclusion for Google, Inc. where she advanced diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes for underrepresented communities across the global brand and she also served as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign.
Meanwhile, as co-president and chief revenue officer for the Recording Academy, Panay will be responsible for driving business growth across the organization with a focus on cultivating new partnerships and opportunities. Panay previously served as the senior vice president for Global Strategy and Innovation at Berklee College of Music. Panay was also the founder and CEO of Sonicbids platform which allowed emerging artists to connect with music promoters.
“The successful evolution of the Recording Academy is dependent on strong and innovative leaders, and I’m thrilled to elevate Valeisha and welcome Panos as Co-Presidents to help drive the Recording Academy’s continued transformation,” Mason Jr. said in a statement. “Both Valeisha and Panos are incredible leaders who have a proven record of progress, and together with the rest of the team, will continue to push the envelope at the Recording Academy and shape the organization to better serve, protect, and celebrate the music community.”
Earlier this month, Tammy Hurt was elected chair of the Recording Academy’s board of trustees with Rico Love serving as vice-chair, Om’Mas Keith elected as secretary/treasurer and Christine Albert serving as chair emeritus.
Butterfield Jones and Panay join the Recording Academy’s restructuring after a disruptive few years for the organization including the acrimonious departure of former CEO and president Deborah Dugan. On March 2, 2020, the body fired Dugan two months after placing her on administrative leave following two independent investigations, the first into Dugan’s allegations against the Recording Academy and another into the accusations made against Dugan by a former assistant.
The Recording Academy also came in for sustained criticism for the 2021 Grammy Awards, with The Weeknd blasting the awards as “corrupt” after he earned zero nominations for this cycle despite having the year’s biggest single with “Blinding Lights.” In light of the criticism, the Grammys Awards voted to remove its nomination review committees — the groups that determined the contenders for key awards at the coveted music show.
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