Executive Turntable

Polaris Prize Founder, Executive Director Steve Jordan Departing for Role at CBC Music

Polaris founder Steve Jordan speaks at the announcement of the Polaris Music Prize long list on June 19, 2014 in Calgary, Canada.
Dan Dennison/Getty Images

Polaris founder Steve Jordan speaks at the announcement of the Polaris Music Prize long list on June 19, 2014 in Calgary, Canada. 

Steve Jordan, who founded the Polaris Music Prize -- Canada’s juried Canadian album of the year honor -- is leaving his role as its executive director to take on the position of senior director of CBC Music. He starts March 2.

“I’ve been really struggling to articulate the mixed emotions I have leaving something I started and have devoted myself to for the last 15 years,” said Jordan in a statement.

“I’m sad to leave the day-to-day, but feel a lot of joy that Polaris, culturally and financially, is in the strongest position it’s ever been. I have every confidence that the stewardship of the jury, our team, and our stakeholders will ensure Polaris continues with the integrity and vitality that people expect of it. It also feels good that so many of our sponsors and suppliers have been with us since the beginning and continue to support our mission of amplifying the musical excellence in this country. The various hands that touch Polaris throughout the year are all good hands to be leaving it in.”

Jordan, who received the 2017 Unsung Hero Award from the Canadian Independent Music Association for his outstanding and exceptional contribution to the independent music community in Canada, got his start at Kingston, Ontario, radio station CKLC, then moved on to A&R roles at various record companies, including the independent label True North and Warner Music.

Jordan worked hard to launch the Polaris Music Prize, looking to Britain’s Mercury Prize for inspiration. The idea was that a group of music media junkies and aficionados would recommend, debate and vote on the best albums that year in Canada with no consideration to sales, genre or business affiliation. It is now one of the most prestigious music awards in the country.

Miro Oballa, an entertainment lawyer with Taylor Oballa Murray Leland and chair of the Polaris Music Prize board, added: “On behalf of the Polaris Music Prize’s board of directors, we’d like to thank Steve for the vision and passion he’s brought to The Prize since its inception and we wish him all the best in his new role at the CBC.  Polaris events manager Claire Dagenais will take on an expanded role within Polaris while Steve will continue to provide guidance for the Prize in his new role as a Polaris board member.  We look forward to an exciting new chapter at Polaris.”

The Polaris Music Prize operates as a not-for-profit organization with a 12-person board of directors.