Deborah Dugan, the former CEO of U2 frontman Bono’s (RED) organization, became the first woman appointed to lead The Recording Academy. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
The Recording Academy has placed Deborah Dugan, its president and CEO of just six months, on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct by a senior leader at the organization.
The move announced late Thursday comes 10 days before the 2020 Grammy Awards which will be held in Los Angeles.
“In light of concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team, the board has placed Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan on administrative leave, effective immediately,” the academy said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations.”
Deborah Dugan, the former CEO of Bono’s (RED) organization, became the first woman appointed to lead the academy.
Recording Academy Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr., the music producer who has worked with Chris Brown, Jennifer Hudson and more, will serve as interim president and CEO of the academy.
“The board determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy’s membership, repair Recording Academy employee morale, and allow the Recording Academy to focus on its mission of serving all music creators,” the statement continued. “The Recording Academy Board of Trustees is committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace, music industry, and society.”
Deborah Dugan succeeded Neil Portnow, who led the Grammys since 2002. Before joining (RED), the AIDS organization that launched in 2006, Dugan was president of Disney Publishing Worldwide and executive vice president at EMI/Capitol Records. She started her career as an attorney on Wall Street.
Dugan didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment from The Associated Press.
Before Deborah Dugan, music executive Christine Farnon held the top position at the academy for years, though she never had the title of president and CEO. She held multiple positions at the Grammys throughout her tenure, retiring in 1992 as executive vice president. Michael Greene became the first official president and CEO of the academy in 1988, leading the organization until 2002 when Portnow took over.
This year’s Grammys is set to feature performances by Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Demi Lovato, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Tyler, the Creator, Run-DMC, Rosalía, H.E.R. and Lizzo, who is the top nominee with eight.