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Recording Academy Co-President Valeisha Butterfield Jones to Exit for VP Role at Google

TheWrap logo TheWrap 8/12/2022 Brian Welk
Recording Academy Valeisha Butterfield-Jones © Provided by TheWrap Recording Academy Valeisha Butterfield-Jones

Valeisha Butterfield Jones, the co-president of the Recording Academy, is exiting the organization and will join Google in a vice president role focused on diversity.

Butterfield Jones joined the organization behind the Grammys as its chief diversity officer in 2020, and she was elevated to co-president in June 2021 alongside Panos A. Panay.

The Academy will continue to be led by CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and president Panay. No new co-president will be named at this time. Senior management whom previously reported to Butterfield Jones will now report directly to Mason.

Butterfield Jones will begin at Google as vice president, partnerships, in October. She worked at Google prior to joining the Recording Academy as the global head of inclusion.

Butterfield Jones was recently appointed an honorary co-chair of the Black Music Collective, and she will continue to be involved with the Recording Academy, with additional details about her involvement to be announced in the coming months.

"This is a bittersweet moment for our Recording Academy family. We are all heartbroken that Valeisha is leaving us but also, so thankful for and proud of the incredible work she has done with us over the past two years," Mason Jr. said in a statement. "She has been the perfect partner and someone I feel truly lucky to have worked so closely with. She has made me a better CEO and definitely made our Academy a better organization."

In her role as co-president and before that as chief diversity officer, Butterfield Jones oversaw the Recording Academy's people and culture, membership and awards and related initiatives, and she also spearheaded several diversity efforts and campaigns, such as the Women in the Mix study, the Black Music Collective and the Recording Academy Honors. She was also instrumental in adding the inclusion rider to the Grammys ceremony, the first awards show to do so.

"I'm deeply appreciative of all the contributions she's made, the impact she's had, and the example she has set for each one of us," Mason continued. "While I know we are saddened to see her go, I'm excited to have someone from our music community, from our Academy family, doing big things and in such an impactful position. I look forward to seeing her soar in her next chapter and am confident that we will find ways to work together to positively impact the music industry and beyond."

"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 the world," Butterfield Jones said. "Diversity, equity and inclusion aren't just buzzwords and as an organization, we were committed to doing the work both publicly and privately, to drive real and meaningful change. 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.

She continued: "Working at the Recording Academy has been the opportunity of a lifetime and I am incredibly grateful to have worked alongside Harvey, Panos, the Board and the entire Academy staff during one of the most exciting and revolutionary times in the history of this change-making organization. We made significant impact together and I know I will carry these experiences with me as I embark on this exciting next professional chapter with Google."

Melonie Parker, Google's chief diversity officer, also issued a statement welcoming Butterfield Jones into her new role.

I'm thrilled Valeisha Butterfield Jones is returning to Google and joining my team as Vice President, Partnerships in October," Parker said. "Valeisha is a true leader in bringing people together as she's done during her time at the Academy, and previously at Google, and she will play a critical role in our external partnerships and inclusion programs. I am thrilled for Valeisha's return and for the indelible mark she'll continue to make."

Butterfield Jones previously served as the global head of inclusion for Google, leading teams across the U.S., EMEA, APAC and Latin America with a focus on access to quality education, growth for minority-owned businesses, global partnerships and pathways into S.T.E.A.M. for historically marginalized groups. Key programs under her leadership included TechExchange, Code Next, the State of Black Women at Google, Decoding Race and the Digital Coaches program.

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