Mason had been in the position on an unpaid, interim basis since January 2020. He was named to the post when former president Deborah Dugan was put on administrative leave 10 days before the 2020 Grammy Awards. She was terminated on March 3 of that year and has since sued the Recording Academy.
Ironically, Dugan was brought in following the departure of former CEO Neil Portnow, who resigned following controversial comments in 2018, when he answered a question about the Academy’s allegedly sexist voting and lack of female representation by saying female artists needed to “step up.”
Mason was formerly the chair of the Academy’s Board, a position he will now relinquish.
“I want to commend the search committee and our partners at Heidrick and Struggles for orchestrating a robust and exhaustive search for our next president and CEO,” added Tammy Hurt, vice chair of the Recording Academy. “I am not surprised that they faced a significant challenge in finding candidates that would meet the standard that has been set by Harvey during these past 16 months. He has led the Academy through one of the most difficult periods in our history. As a music creator himself, he has provided hope, inspiration and a vision for the future that we are well on our way to achieving. We are all thrilled that he has agreed to become our permanent CEO and will continue to lead us into the future.”
The Recording Academy cited several items of progress in transparency during Mason’s interim tenure. That included recent changes to voting procedures, and strides towards ensuring a more diverse and inclusive membership body. Additionally, the Academy launched a new Songwriters & Composers Wing and the Black Music Collective, and met the unique challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mason also oversaw the hiring of the Recording Academy’s first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and conducted an organizational restructure.
The announcement noted Mason will “take appropriate steps to prevent any conflict of interest with his business, Harvey Mason Media.”
“There is nothing more rewarding than having the trust and respect of your colleagues and peers,” Mason said. “I am honored to have been appointed to continue to lead the Recording Academy on our transformative journey. While I had not initially expected to be in this position, I remain deeply invested in the success of the organization and am motivated to help us achieve our greatest ambitions. I will serve humbly with a steadfast commitment to building a more inclusive, responsive and relevant Academy.”
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