He has led the organization for 16 years.
The president and CEO of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, is set to leave his position next year. In a newly-released statement Portnow addressed the pending conclusion of his current contract with the organization, referring back to a promise made when he first came into the position.
“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.”
Portnow has the honor of being the longest running president of the Recording Academy since its inception in 1957. Outside of the usual criticisms of the Recording Academy’s problem with inclusion, shutouts, and straight-up snubs, Portnow’s personal run has been almost blemish-free until he sparked great controversy earlier this year when, shortly after the Grammys, he was prompted by a reporter on why only one woman, Alessia Cara, served as a presenter at this year’s Grammy ceremonies. His response was that women should, “step up because I think they would be welcome […] think it’s upon us, us as an industry, to make the welcome mat very obvious.”
Soon a group of female industry executives singed a letter asking Protnow to step down from his post even after he issued an apology with a petition supporting his resgnation earning over 30.000 signatures.