President/CEO, The Recording Academy
17 YEARS OF SERVICE: As Portnow prepares for his final Grammy Awards ceremony before stepping down as head of the academy in July, he says he is “proud of the transformative evolution The Recording Academy has achieved” in his 17 years of leadership. As far back as 2014, he was a prime mover in mobilizing members to support an omnibus bill, paving the way for the Music Modernization Act. His work with the academy’s MusiCares foundation during his tenure assisted 145,000 people in need through nearly $60 million in distributed funds. After igniting a firestorm with remarks at last year’s Grammys, Portnow established a diversity task force that has invited more than 900 new women and minority members to join the academy’s ranks. “It’s an opportunity to affect historic change in attitudes and practices,” he says.