In a surprise move, Recording Academy co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones will leave the organization to return to Google, taking on a new role as vice president on the tech giant’s diversity team. Internet.
Butterfield Jones joined the Academy in 2020 as Director of Diversity and became Co-Chair with Panos Panay almost exactly a year ago. She played a key role in CEO Harvey Mason Jr.’s “modernized leadership team.” and oversaw the organization’s people and culture, membership, awards and related initiatives.
The Academy will continue to be led by Mason as CEO and Panay as President; the organization will not appoint an additional co-chair at this time. Senior management that previously reported to Butterfield Jones will now report to Mason.
Butterfield Jones will leave her role at the Academy effective September 9 and join Google in October as Vice President of Partnerships on the Diversity team, after serving as Global Head of Inclusion at Google.
“This is a bittersweet moment for our Recording Academy family,” Mason said in a statement. “We are all heartbroken that Valeisha is leaving us, but also, so grateful and proud of the incredible work she has done with us over the past two years. She was the perfect partner and someone I feel truly fortunate to have worked with so closely. »
Mason continued, “She made me a better CEO and definitely made our Academy a better organization. I am deeply grateful for all the contributions she made, the impact she had and the example she set for all of us. »
Butterfield Jones commented: “When I came to The Recording Academy over two years ago, I had a clear mission: to make The Recording Academy the most inclusive company in music and in the world. Diversity, equity and inclusion are not just buzz words and as an organization we are committed to doing the work both publicly and privately, to drive real and significant. It has been one of the greatest honors of my career to serve this bold new Recording Academy, and my service to our mission will continue in new and even more impactful ways. »
During her tenure at the Recording Academy, Butterfield Jones was instrumental in the creation of several key initiatives, including the Black Music Collective, the Recording Academy Honors, Women in the Mix Study and the HBCU Love Tour. Additionally, she was responsible for implementing the awards show’s first inclusion rider and #ChangeMusic roadmap, and forged historic partnerships with Color of Change and GLAAD.
Melonie Parker, Director of Diversity at Google, said: “Valeisha is a true leader in bringing people together, as she did during her time at the Academy, and previously at Google, and she will play a vital role. in our external partnerships and inclusion programs. I am thrilled with Valeisha’s return and the indelible mark she will continue to make. »
Following his departure from the Recording Academy, Butterfield Jones will continue to serve the organization and the wider music community. She was named Honorary Co-Chair of the Black Music Collective; his continued involvement with the Academy will be announced over the coming months.
Prior to joining the Academy, Butterfield Jones was Global Head of Inclusion for Google. Some of the major programs under her leadership include TechExchange, Code Next, The State of Black Women at Google, Decoding Race, and the Digital Coaches program. Previously, she served as national director of youth voting for the Obama for America campaign and, in the Obama administration, deputy director of public affairs for international trade. She has also worked as the National Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Russell Simmons’ Rush Communications/The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and as the National Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association. She started her career at HBO Sports.