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Grammy guru Portnow named CEO

Exec given four-year contract extension

Neil Portnow, who took over the Recording Academy five years ago following the turbulent reign of C. Michael Greene, has been upped to prexy-CEO and given a four-year contract extension.

He is inked with the Grammy org through 2011, and the Recording Academy is expected to make the announcement this morning.

Portnow, who oversaw the West Coast operations of Jive/Zomba for the 13 years prior to running the Recording Academy, is in the throes of planning celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards.

He will continue to serve as lead exec of the Recording Academy, working closely with the board of trustees and its chair, the producer Jimmy Jam, as well as the Recording Acad’s senior management team.

Additionally, he will continue to represent the org on issues relating to the music industry and develop and manage strategic advocacy positions at the national, state and local levels.

“He has a unique understanding of the needs of our constituents and how best to serve them,” Jam said. “He has made great strides in increasing the scope of programs and initiatives we offer regionally and nationally, thereby advancing the Academy’s profile and furthering its mission.”

In the past 4½ years, Portnow has led the org’s creation of its “My Grammy” campaigns for marketing and education; created the Grammy nominees compilation CD; initiated plans to open a Grammy Museum a year from now; revitalized and expanded the Recording Acad’s Producers and Engineers Wing; launched a three-year public education awareness campaign on illegal downloading; and acquired the Musicians Assistance Program and merged its services with those of the MusiCares Foundation.

Also, Portnow and his troops have been busy in Washington, D.C., establishing an advocacy and government relations department, hired a lobbyist and hosted Grammy townhall and industry roundtable meetings with music industry leaders.

Prior to joining the org in December 2002, Portnow was senior VP of West Coast operations for the Zomba Group of Cos., 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 Zomba creative talent, the film and television music division, Zomba Music Services, Segue Music and Ingenuity Entertainment. He has also held positions at EMI America Records; Arista Records and 20th Century Fox Records.

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