Deborah Dugan, who took over as the first female Recording Academy president/CEO on Aug. 1, 2019, has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately- just over a week before the 2020 Grammy Awards due to what’s being classified as “serious concerns” brought to the board of trustees’ attention.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, included an allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team.
“The Board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations,” according to a statement released to Billboard.
Insiders claim that almost from the start, Dugan was not a good fit for the academy, and her relationships within the organization deteriorated rapidly.
“Once there were some indications that she was not cooperating with the staff and the board, everything unraveled surprisingly quickly and in a very complex way,” the source said. “It wasn’t like a single incident. It was a series of issues. I think it goes way beyond not just being a good fit,” the source added.
While another source explained that Dugan came into an environment that was steadily loyal to her predecessor Neil Portnow, and as a result, Dugan was met with resistance at every turn and was unable to move forward in her new role and thrive.
According to The NY Times, Dugan had been removed after Portnow’s assistant, who worked for Dugan temporarily, filed a complaint, accusing Dugan of a bullying management style, which contributed to the assistant taking a leave of absence.
In a statement released by her attorney Bryan Freedman, Deborah Dugan threatened to expose the academy over her removal “What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told. When our ability to speak is not restrained by a 28-page contract and legal threats, we will expose what happens when you ‘step up’ at the Recording Academy, a public nonprofit,” the statement read.
The news of this fallout is not expected to affect the Grammy telecast.
The 62nd annual Grammy Awards take place Jan. 26, in Los Angeles.