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Daryl Friedman, Recording Academy’s Longtime Chief Advocacy Officer, Leaves Post

Daryl P. Friedman, chief advocacy & public policy officer for the Recording Academy, is the latest in a series of top executives to leave the Academy in 2021. Friedman, who joined the Academy staff…

Daryl P. Friedman, chief advocacy & public policy officer for the Recording Academy, is the latest in a series of top executives to leave the organization this year. Friedman, an Academy staff member since 1997, will join CEDIA, the global trade association for the home technology industry, as global president and CEO on Nov. 29.

Friedman is the fifth top executive to depart the Academy in 2021. He follows Bill Freimuth, chief awards officer; Rick Engdahl, chief information officer; Lisa Farris, chief marketing and innovation officer; and Lourdes Lopez Patton, vice president, communications.

David Gregory was recently hired to replace Engdahl as chief information officer. Joanna Chu was promoted to vice president of awards in the wake of Freimuth’s departure and Ruby Marchand expanded her tole to chief awards and industry officer.


The Academy has seen much turnover in its executive staff in the past two years, as Harvey Mason jr., who became interim president/CEO in January 2020 and assumed the job on a full-time basis in May 2021, seeks to build his own team.

Top academy officers who have joined the Academy staff in the past two years include Mason; Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Panos A. Paney, co-presidents; Marchand, originally as chief industry officer; and Adam Roth, senior vp, partnerships & business development.

In moving to CEDIA, Friedman gets a CEO position that would likely have been out-of-reach for him at the Academy, given Mason’s recent hiring. Deborah Dugan’s short, rocky tenure as president/CEO in 2019-20 notwithstanding, the Academy has a history of long tenures in the top job. Mike Greene held the job for 14 years (1988-2002). His successor, Neil Portnow, held it for nearly 17 years (2002-19). All of the recent departures were hired under Portnow’s tenure.

Dugan is the outlier: She assumed the top job on Aug. 1, 2019 and was placed on administrative leave just 5-1/2 months later – on Jan. 16, 2020. She was officially fired on March 2, 2020.


Friedman established the Academy’s Washington, D.C. office, which has since grown from a sole member to a five-person team. During his tenure, he created and launched Grammys on the Hill, Washington’s largest annual music advocacy program, as well as a number of programs to advance the rights of music creators through advocacy, education and dialogue. Friedman also led the charge on the Academy’s annual District Advocate program — a nationwide grassroots effort that has become the largest music advocacy activation in the U.S.

Mason spoke warmly about Friedman in a statement to Billboard: “Daryl Friedman has done amazing work on behalf of the Academy and music creators for the last 24 years. He fought tirelessly to champion creators’ rights and was instrumental in our advocacy and policy work in Washington D.C. We are proud of the work we’ve done together during his more than two decade tenure. We know he will do incredible work in his new role and we wish him all our very best.”


“We’ve found someone that I am confident will be the step-change in leadership that CEDIA needs and deserves,” Jamie Briesemeister, CEDIA board and executive search committee member, said in a statement. “Daryl has decades of experience in trade association leadership and member advocacy. He exudes a humble nature that draws conversation and consensus, and he deeply values technical expertise and artistry. Daryl has a vision for what CEDIA can be—and will be—and he has the experience to realize it.”

“Having represented audio professionals for most of my career, I’ve long admired CEDIA for championing immersive audio experiences in the home,” Friedman said in a statement. “Now, as our homes become the hub for work, education, entertainment, and wellness, CEDIA members are the indispensable partners for making our homes more comfortable and connected. This is truly CEDIA’s moment, and I am honored to join the team at this exciting time.”