Recording Academy President/CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., has appointed Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Panos A. Panay as Co-Presidents, effective Aug. 16, 2021.
They will join recently elevated Chief Operating Officer Branden Chapman and Chief Industry Officer Ruby Marchand as part of a modernized leadership team. This new structure is recognition that further progress and building of the organization requires leaders with different strengths and areas of focus to drive innovation and accountability. The team will work directly under Mason, whose title will shift to CEO.
“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,” says Mason. “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.”
As Co-President, Butterfield Jones will continue to oversee the Recording Academy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts along with people and culture, membership, awards, advocacy, and related initiatives. She will also continue to infuse the highest standards of inclusion, belonging, and representation throughout the Academy.
Butterfield Jones currently serves as the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Recording Academy. Prior to this role, she served as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc., responsible for accelerating diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes for underrepresented communities internally and externally across the global brand. Key programs under Butterfield Jones’ leadership included TechExchange, Code Next, the State of Black Women at Google, Decoding Race and the Digital Coaches program.
In 2007, Butterfield Jones co-founded Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), a nonprofit, global coalition of people committed to the balanced, positive portrayal of women in the entertainment industry. Her leadership has been recognized by Forbes, Fortune, Glamour, and Ebony magazine’s Power 100, The Root 100, Billboard magazine’s 2021 Change Agents feature, and others.
Panay will serve as Co-President and Chief Revenue Officer, and will be tasked with driving business growth across the entire organization to further expand the service offerings for the Academy’s members and the industry. With a focus on identifying new partnerships and opportunities, he will be instrumental in creating strategic plans and fostering a culture of innovation.
Prior to joining the Recording Academy, Panay served as the Senior Vice President for Global Strategy and Innovation at Berklee College of Music and is a fellow at MIT Connection Science. At Berklee, Panay led the development and execution of the college’s overarching strategic plan; founded the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship; oversaw its campuses in New York City, Valencia, and Abu Dhabi, as well as the Music + Health and India Exchange Institutes; and steered new partnerships, program development and the incorporation of new technologies. Prior to Berklee, Panay was founder and CEO of Sonicbids, the leading platform for emerging artists to connect with music promoters. He started his career as a talent agent and Vice President at The Kurland Agency, booking international tours for Grammy-winning artists such as Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, and Branford Marsalis.
Panay has been recognized in Fast Company‘s Fast 50; Inc Magazine‘s Inc 500, Mass Hi-Tech All Stars, and Boston Globe‘s Game Changers. His first book Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation, co-authored with Michael Hendrix of IDEO, was released earlier this year and was named as a business book of the month of April by the Financial Times.