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Recording Academy CEO Suspended Amid Allegations Of Misconduct

Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan speaks during the 62nd Grammy Awards Nominations Conference at CBS Broadcast Center in November. [Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images]
Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan speaks during the 62nd Grammy Awards Nominations Conference at CBS Broadcast Center in November.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has placed its president and CEO, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave in a major shakeup at the organization less than two weeks before this year's Grammy Awards ceremony.

A statement released by the Recording Academy's board of trustees referred to "a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team" and said it had placed Dugan "on administrative leave, effective immediately."

The statement did not specify the nature of the allegation, nor who is accused of committing the misconduct.

Dugan became the Recording Academy's first woman CEO less than six months ago. She followed Neil Portnow, who led the Grammys for 17 years, but sparked controversy with a comment after the 2018 show that women needed to "step up" to get ahead in the music industry.

"The board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations," the statement said.

"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," it continued. "The Recording Academy Board of Trustees is committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace, music industry, and society."

The Recording Academy's board chair, Harvey Mason Jr., a music producer who has worked with such recording artists as Chris Brown and Jennifer Hudson, will step in as interim president and CEO, the statement said.

Dugan headed Bono's (RED), an organization focused on combating HIV/AIDS, before coming to the Academy and had previously been president of Disney Publishing Worldwide and executive vice president at EMI/Capitol Records.

She came in promising to "reinvent" the organization, telling NPR in an interview in December that she was leading "a major restructuring to allow for immediate diversity."

Dugan said she and Mason were "personally and professionally committed to advance and champion diversity, inclusivity, transparency — making processes simple and understandable."

This year's Grammy Awards ceremony, to be held Jan. 26, will feature performances by, among others, Lizzo, who tops the list with eight nominations; Aerosmith; Camila Cabello; Billie Eilish; H.E.R.; The Jonas Brothers; Demi Lovato; Bonnie Raitt; Rosalía; Run DMC; Blake Shelton; Gwen Stefani; Tyler, The Creator; and Charlie Wilson.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.