Neil Portnow, the president and chief executive officer of the Recording Academy, which organises the Grammy Awards, on Thursday said he would step down after he was widely criticised for his comments during the 60th Grammy Awards. His contract ends in July 2019, and Portnow will not seek an extension.
Portnow did not cite any reason but said he wanted an orderly transition to choose his successor. “The evolution of industries, institutions, and organizations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity and success,” he said in a statement, according to AFP. Portnow is the longest-serving president in the Recording Academy’s 60-year history, reported Rolling Stone.
This year, women won in only 17 of 86 categories in the Grammys. When Portnow was questioned about this lack of gender equality, he told Variety that women need to “step up”.
Though he soon apologised and said that his comments failed to convey the point he was trying to make, the statement prompted calls for Portnow’s resignation, with many saying that his comments were insulting. Later, the Grammys announced plans to establish an independent task force to address the biases against women in the music community.