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Grammy Awards chief Deborah Dugan suspended after misconduct allegation

Dugan was the first woman appointed to lead the organisation

The Recording Academy chief executive Deborah Dugan announces nominations for the 2020 Grammy Awards at a news conference in Manhattan, New York. Reuters.
The Recording Academy chief executive Deborah Dugan announces nominations for the 2020 Grammy Awards at a news conference in Manhattan, New York. Reuters.

The Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammy awards, has placed its president and chief executive, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave just days before the 2020 ceremony.

The academy announced the news on Thursday, ten days before this year's Grammy awards are due to be held. Dugan has been in the role for less than six months.

The action was taken "in light of concerns raised to the board of trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team," the organisation said in a statement to Reuters.

Board chairman Harvey Mason Jr will serve as interim president and chief executive until the investigation is complete, the statement said, adding that two independent third-party investigators had been retained to look into the accusations.

Dugan took on the role in August 2019, becoming the first woman ever appointed to lead the organisation.

Formerly the chief executive officer of Bono's (RED) organisation, Dugan succeeded Neil Portnow, who had led the Grammys since 2002.

Before joining (RED), the Aids organisation that launched in 2006, Dugan was president of Disney Publishing Worldwide and executive vice president at EMI/Capitol Records. She started her career as an attorney on New York's Wall Street.

"I'm honoured, humbled, and ready," Dugan said in a statement about her appointment. "The goal of the Recording Academy is to support, encourage and advocate for those within the music community. I will listen to and champion all of those individuals, and lead this iconic organisation into the future."

She had recently tweeted her excitement at being part of her first Grammy season, congratulating nominees and performers on social media.

Updated: January 17, 2020 03:36 PM

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