SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Mar. 24, 2011) — The Board of Trustees of The Recording Academy® has extended President/CEO Neil Portnow's contract through 2015, it was announced by Chair of the Board George J. Flanigen IV. At its semi-annual meeting in November 2010, the Board voted unanimously to keep Portnow at the helm of the nonprofit music membership organization for four more years. Portnow became President of The Academy in December 2002, and was promoted to President/CEO in September 2007.
"Neil's extensive experience and relationships across all aspects of the music and entertainment business combined with his collaborative, inclusive spirit are just a few of the qualities that make him an exceptional leader," said Flanigen. "As a member and volunteer elected leader of The Academy for more than 25 years, and as musician himself, he has an innate understanding of the needs of our constituents and how best to serve them — especially in an ever-evolving industry. He continues to innovate and expand the scope of programs, events, and services we offer regionally, nationally and internationally, always advancing The Academy's profile and mission and always with its best interests at heart. Neil's vision, humility, compassion, and creativity have served the organization well, and I, along with our Board, look forward to continuing to work alongside him."
"It is truly an honor and a privilege to have the continued confidence and support of our Board in steering and guiding this remarkable organization," said Portnow. "Along with our extraordinary staff, and elected leaders from across the country, we will continue to raise the bar on the level of excellence and achievement that can be attained by our Academy with a spirit of collaboration, diligence, and innovation on behalf of and for the betterment of our creative community, both domestically and globally."
In addition to being President/CEO of The Recording Academy, Portnow also is President/CEO of MusiCares® and the GRAMMY Foundation®, as well as Chair of the Board of The GRAMMY Museum®. Under his leadership for the past three-and-a-half years, accomplishments include:
- A consistent and significant increase in ratings over the last three years for the annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast. Last year's 35 percent spike in viewership was the highest year-over-year increase since the invention of people meters in the late '80s, and this year's increase brought the show its largest viewing audience in more than a decade.
- Development of "The GRAMMY® Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night®" as a new TV property (helping raise awareness of the annual GRAMMY nominations and drive viewership toward the annual GRAMMY telecast).
- Establishing The Academy's first-ever Digital Media department, which has produced GRAMMY Live (72 hours of live coverage on GRAMMY.com leading up to the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast), and developed GRAMMY365.com (a site dedicated to Academy members), among other online and digital initiatives and enhancements.
- Groundbreaking and innovative social media efforts across The Academy's official accounts (www.facebook.com/thegrammys, www.twitter.com/thegrammys, www.youtube.com/thegrammys), engaging music fans year round.
- Creating an online listening function allowing Academy voting members the ability to review nominated music.
- Significantly increased attendance at the GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony, as well as streaming the event live on GRAMMY.com (which year over year has garnered increased viewership).
- A record number of entries in the Awards process this past year, consistently high membership numbers, and re-designing the staff and operational structure of The Academy.
- After three decades of dreams, the grand opening of the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE in Dec. 2008, in partnership with AEG, and its immediate success within the music industry and with music fans from around the world. Most recently, the Museum's collaboration with Muzak in the discovery of more than 20,000 never-before-released recordings from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s from notable artists such as The Carter Family, Rosemary Clooney, Louie Prima, Fats Waller, and many more. The GRAMMY Museum will lead the effort in assessing the archives and determine the best way to house, digitize, and ultimately release the collection to the public.
- Creation of the MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief fund in response to the devastating floods that unexpectedly hit Nashville in May 2010, providing assistance and support to music people in need, with funds being distributed within 48 – 72 hours covering the most immediate and basic needs. Additionally, other music industry friends and partners joined MusiCares in Nashville Flood Relief efforts, including Guitar Center, Music Rising, the Gibson Foundation, and The Academy of Country Music's Lifting Lives charitable foundation, as well as artists such as Faith Hill & Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban, among many others. The fund has raised more than $1 million, and assisted more than 300 people to date.
- Expansion to New York this year of the GRAMMY Foundation's celebrated GRAMMY Camp program — a 10-day interactive residential summer music experience for music students that focuses on all aspects of commercial music (now in its seventh year).
- International expansion and outreach, including a partnership with China's Beijing Music Festival Arts Foundation (which will focus on developing GRAMMY-branded music education and entertainment programs in China), and The Academy's first international GRAMMY-branded event in Mexico City in Sept. 2010. Additionally, the GRAMMY Awards telecast is now broadcast worldwide in a record 193 countries.
- Establishing a strategic alliance with the Recording Artists' Coalition (RAC) that combines the efforts of both organizations to amplify artists' rights on Capitol Hill, with RAC becoming an integral program of The Academy's "GRAMMYs on the Hill" initiative (which advances the rights of music creators through advocacy, education, and dialogue). Don Henley will be the recipient of the inaugural Recording Artists' Coalition Award at the upcoming GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards on April 13 in Washington, D.C.
- Launching MusiCares' 20th Anniversary Giving Campaign, with an initial overall fundraising goal of $15 million, further ensuring music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical, and personal need. Noted entertainment attorney and MusiCares Board Chair Emeritus John Branca and legendary record company executive Mo Ostin are the campaign co-chairs, and more than $11.1 million has been raised in the first year, thanks to a $5 million matching gift from Clive Calder and the ELMA Music Foundation, and a significant gift from Olivia Harrison and the Material World Foundation. Other numerous donors include the Academy of Country Music, the Herb Alpert Foundation, Lynn and Les Bider Family Foundation, Chris Blackwell, Pat Boone, the John Branca family, Cirque du Soleil, John Densmore, the David Foster Foundation, Barry Gibb, the Gibson Foundation, Joel Katz, Tim Leiweke, Jim Long, Jerry Moss, MTV Networks, Chuck Ortner, the Ostin Family Foundation, Neil Portnow, Rhino Records, Bill Silva, David Sonenberg, the Streisand Foundation, Rod Temperton, and Barry Weiss.
- Moving the organization to new Academy headquarters in Santa Monica, built out to LEED's Gold environmental certification, and ensuring an appropriate and welcome home for decades to come.
Since Portnow became President of the organization in 2002, he identified and developed the Four Pillars of the organization — Membership/Awards, Music Education, Philanthropy & Charity, and Advocacy. His accomplishments in these and other areas have included:
· Extension of the organization's mission and brand identity into the marketplace with the creation of The Academy's first-ever marketing department (which has developed a record level of corporate sponsorships and partnerships, redesigned and introduced a new corporate logo, and
initiated and developed a highly successful partnership with world-renowned advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, who have created award-winning ad campaigns for the 50th – 53rd GRAMMY Awards).
· Thirteen Emmy® nominations and five wins for the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast.
· Collaborating with the major record labels on the successful annual GRAMMY Nominees CD releases, which has enjoyed record sales and chart positions, with a portion of proceeds benefiting MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation.
· Revitalizing and expanding The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, as well as local Academy Chapter activities and events.
· Launching the GRAMMY University Network (created to give music students and students interested in a career in music access to programs, panels, performance opportunities, leaders in the music industry, as well as other benefits), currently with a membership of more than 4,000.
· Developing and enhancing GRAMMY Camp, along with other GRAMMY in the Schools programs (including GRAMMY Signature Schools, GRAMMY Career Day, and GRAMMY SoundChecks), as well as the Entertainment Law Initiative and the Starry Night gala fundraiser.
Philanthropy & Charity
· Acquiring the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP) and merging its services with those of MusiCares, providing even greater resources to aid musicians in need of financial, medical and critical assistance, as well as addiction recovery services.
· Establishing the MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund with an initial $1 million commitment within days of the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, providing immediate and crucial assistance to music industry professionals in the Gulf Coast region impacted by the disaster. (All told, the Hurricane Relief Fund has provided more than $4 million in financial assistance to nearly 4,000 individuals directly affected by the disasters.)
· Achieving record-breaking attendance and revenues for the annual MusiCares Person of the Year and MAP events.
· Establishing an Advocacy & Government Relations department and dramatically increasing the organization's advocacy outreach (by utilizing the organization's resources to advance the rights of artists through advocacy, education and dialogue); hiring a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. (to assist with legislative initiatives and lobbying efforts); and hosting GRAMMY Town Hall and GRAMMY Industry Roundtable meetings (a series of high-level discussions with music industry leaders tackling important issues and the industry's most challenging topics).
· Creating a GRAMMYs on the Hill lobbying day as a companion to the esteemed GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards event, both of which represent the most significant and unified music industry presence in Washington D.C.
· Developing and implementing the first-ever CEO Summit meeting, which continues to be a semi-annual gathering that includes leadership representation from every music industry organization, resulting in new, unprecedented cooperation and collaboration between the various creative and business constituencies.
Portnow will continue to serve as the lead executive of The Recording Academy, working closely with the Board of Trustees and its Chair, as well as The Academy's senior management team to advance the
organization's goals and purpose, including the creative and strategic vision and the operations of The Academy and its related entities (the GRAMMYAwards, the Latin GRAMMY Awards, The Latin Recording Academy®, MusiCares, the GRAMMY Foundation, the GRAMMY Museum, the Producers & Engineers Wing, and other programs). Additionally, he will continue to represent The Academy to its many constituents and partners; serve as a trusted and important industry leader on issues relating to the music industry — including participation in national caucuses, seminars and similar events; and provide service/counsel to key domestic and international industry-related organizations. In keeping with The Academy's position as an advocate for its constituents, Portnow will develop and manage strategic advocacy positions at the national, state and local levels — both governmental and within music and its related industries.
Portnow has served The Academy as a volunteer leader in a variety of roles, both locally and nationally, for more than 25 years. He was Senior Vice President of West Coast Operations for the Zomba Group of
Companies (including Jive Records and Zomba Music Publishing), responsible for the overall vision and direction of Zomba's businesses on the West Coast, including sales and marketing, corporate and talent acquisitions, and management of all of Zomba's creative talent, the Film and Television Music Division, Zomba Music Services, Segue Music, and Ingenuity Entertainment. Prior to Zomba, he was Vice President of A&R at EMI America Records; Vice President/General Manager West Coast Arista Records; and President, Twentieth Century Fox Records. He began his career as a musician, record producer, and music publisher. In 2003, he was honored with City of Hope's Spirit of Life Award, the highest philanthropic honor bestowed upon an individual by the world-renowned cancer treatment and research center. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from George Washington University.
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, join the organization's social networks as a Twitter follower at www.twitter.com/thegrammys, a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/thegrammys, and aYouTube channel subscriber at www.youtube.com/thegrammys.
Photo available upon request.
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The Recording Academy