Recording Academy president Neil Portnow went on defense after being criticized for a near shut-out of female artists at this year’s Grammy Awards. His response was to bizarrely claim that women were not doing enough to warrant the same accolades received by their male counterparts, which, of course, only greeted him with more blowback. Artists like Shirley Manson, Fiona Apple, Pink, and many, many more lambasted Portnow’s tone-deaf comments, with many calling for his resignation. That led to an apology, as well as the institution of “an independent task force” that will apparently work “to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community.”
Now, Billboard reports that Portnow will step down from his post when his contract expires next year. A new Recording Academy president is expected to be installed by next summer. Along with the blowback, which included multiple letters from high-ranking industry figures, a letter released last week from former MusiCares VP Dana Tomarken accused Portnow of steering money away from MusiCares, a foundation that offers support and community services to at-need musicians, in order to fund a deficit created by this year’s Grammy telecast shifting from its longtime home in Los Angeles to New York City for 2018.
Portnow released a statement announcing his decision to step down at the end of his contract. “I’ll be working with our Board to put the various elements in place that will ensure transparency, best practices, and the Academy’s ability to find the very best, brightest, and qualified leadership to take us into our seventh decade of operation,” he says.
Read his full statement below:
“The evolution of industries, institutions and organizations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity and success, Having been a member of the Recording Academy for four decades, serving as an elected leader and our President/CEO, I have not only witnessed our evolution, but proudly contributed significantly to the Academy’s growth and stature in the world. 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. Accordingly, I’ll be working with our Board to put the various elements in place that will ensure transparency, best practices, and the Academy’s ability to find the very best, brightest, and qualified leadership to take us into our seventh decade of operation. I truly look forward to continuing my role leading the Academy in the year ahead, and to continuing the pursuit of excellence and the fine missions we embrace and deliver.”