BREAKING: Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan Placed On “Administrative Leave”

Deborah Dugan. Photo: courtesy The Recording Academy

Deborah Dugan, who took the helm as president and CEO of The Recording Academy on Aug. 1, 2019, has been placed on immediate administrative leave, in light of concerns raised by the Board of The Recording Academy, according to a memo sent to Recording Academy members. Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim President and CEO.

MusicRow Magazine obtained a copy of the memo, which reads:

We wanted to share that the Recording Academy Board of Trustees has placed Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan on Administrative Leave, effective immediately.

The Board of Trustees felt this action to be necessary in light of serious concerns that recently came to their attention. While we are unable to share the details of the concerns to protect employee privacy, please know that the Board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations that caused the concerns.  We want to assure you that the Recording Academy Board of Trustees is committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace, music industry, and society.

The Board has appointed me to serve as Interim President and CEO, and all Recording Academy operations will proceed as normal during the interim leadership transition. The GRAMMY Awards and all related activities will go forward as planned.

Recording Academy Chief Industry, Government Affairs, & Member Relations Officer Daryl Friedman and VP of Membership & Industry Relations Laura Segura Mueller will share additional information with you as it becomes available and when appropriate.  In the interim, our focus on service to the music community – and to you, our members – will remain uninterrupted and undiminished.

Harvey Mason, Jr.
Interim Recording Academy President and CEO

Prior to joining The Recording Academy, Dugan served as CEO of (RED), the AIDS nonprofit co-founded in 2006 by U2 singer Bono and activist Bobby Shriver. She took on the position at the Recording Academy in August after the exit of Neil Portnow, who had led the organization for 17 years.

A former Wall Street mergers and acquisitions attorney, Dugan was also president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, and executive vice president of EMI Records Group/Angel Records.

The news comes just over a week before the upcoming Grammy Awards, which are slated for Jan. 26 at the Los Angeles Staples Center.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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