Recording Academy Executives

The Recording Academy™'s leadership team is comprised of a diverse group of individuals dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage. As the world's leading society of music professionals, our leadership team works year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

Neil Portnow

President/CEO

Neil Portnow

President/CEO

As President/CEO, Portnow works closely with the Recording Academy™'s Board of Trustees, Chair, 12 Chapter Boards and Officers, as well as the Academy's senior management team to advance the organization's goals and mission. He also serves as President/CEO of the Academy's charitable affiliate MusiCares®, and he is Chair of the Board of the GRAMMY Museum® L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. Portnow represents the Academy to its constituents, partners, and music fans, and serves as a leader on issues relating to the music industry. And in keeping with the Academy's position as an advocate for its constituents, Portnow develops and manages strategic advocacy positions at the national, state, and local levels—both governmental and within music and its related industries. His notable accomplishments include:

  • Since 2014, championing and unifying the industry behind the Music Modernization Act, the biggest update to music legislation in the past 40 years. In Sept. 2018 Congress unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act. The bill became law on Oct. 11, 2018.
  • Launching MusiCares' 20th Anniversary Giving Campaign and raising more than $12 million for MusiCares; and launching the MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund in 2005 and Nashville Flood Relief fund in 2010—when Hurricane Katrina and floods devastated the lives of people in the Gulf Coast region and Nashville respectively—bringing necessary and immediate assistance and support to music people in need. In 2017, he orchestrated the establishment of a relief fund to support members of the music community affected by the recent devastation of the hurricanes in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. In another milestone, over the course of the last fiscal year, MusiCares provided more than $6.5 million dollars to approximately 8,600 members of the music industry—the largest number of clients served and dollars distributed in a single year in the charity's history.
  • Creating a GRAMMYs on the Hill® Advocacy Day as a companion to the esteemed GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards event, both of which represent the most significant and unified music industry presence in Washington, D.C.; establishing a strategic alliance with the Recording Artists' Coalition to amplify artists' rights on Capitol Hill; and co-founding and implementing the first-ever Music Policy Retreat, which continues to be a semiannual gathering that includes leadership representation from music industry organizations.
  • Leading the largest grassroots initiative for music in the nation; the Recording Academy's District Advocate day. In 2017, for the first time in history, music creators from all 50 states met with congressional offices in their home districts to discuss legislative issues affecting the music industry, including performance rights, copyright reform, and the impact of digital services.
  • Spearheading efforts to open the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live in Dec. 2008, in partnership with AEG.
  • Leading the merger of the GRAMMY Museum and GRAMMY Foundation® into the newly expanded GRAMMY Museum, which offers the best of each organization's initiatives in preservation, education, exhibitions, and public programming.

Under Portnow's leadership, the annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast has enjoyed an upswing over the past decade. The average audience for the awards from 2011-2017 is 28.18 million viewers, including the nearly 40 million viewers who watched the 2012 telecast, a higher average than the '90s or '00s. Recently, he spearheaded negotiations with the Academy's longstanding broadcast partner CBS, keeping the annual GRAMMY telecast on the network through 2021. He also expanded this partnership to include a series of new annual GRAMMY specials, in addition to the "GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends®" broadcasts featured on PBS' "Great Performances" series. Additionally, Portnow has expanded the Academy's international outreach as the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast is now seen in more than 190 countries. He also was instrumental in facilitating the annual Latin GRAMMY Awards® move to Spanish-language network Univision, where the telecast has enjoyed great success and significant rating increases, and extending the partnership to include new Latin GRAMMY specials. 

Portnow currently sits on the executive board, Music & Entertainment Industry for the City of Hope, where he previously served an unprecedented three-year term as President of the Music and Entertainment Industry chapter from 2000–2002. In October 2003, the City Of Hope presented Portnow with its top philanthropy honor, the Spirit of Life Award. He also was named the UJA Federation of NY's Music Visionary of the Year at its annual luncheon in June 2014. Other honors include the George Washington University's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, honorary doctorate from Berklee School of Music, and inclusion in Billboard magazine's Power 100 and the Variety500 industry lists.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree from George Washington University.

Wayne Zahner

Chief Financial Officer

Wayne Zahner

Chief Financial Officer

With more than 27 years of auditing, accounting, and financial reporting experience, Wayne Zahner currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Recording Academy™, NARAS Properties, Inc., and the GRAMMY Museum®. He is responsible for and oversees all accounting, financial, legal, insurance, trademark, copyright, and facilities-related matters.

Zahner joined the Recording Academy as Controller in October 2001. He was promoted to Director of Business Affairs in December 2002 and appointed Chief Financial Officer in July 2004.

Prior to joining the Academy, he worked in management consulting with an emphasis on construction, cost accounting, and fraud prevention at Jefferson Wells International. Previously, Zahner was the manager of the internal audit department of KB Home, one of the nation's largest residential homebuilders, where he planned and executed financial, internal control, construction inventory, mortgage servicing, and fraud audits. He also worked as an assistant controller and senior internal auditor for Ryland Homes; senior financial accountant with USF&G Insurance, preparing financial statements, SEC filings, and accounting research; and as a senior auditor with C.W. Amos & Company, LLC, a regional public accounting firm on the East Coast.

Zahner is a CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He was honored as a finalist, for the second year in a row, in the nonprofit category in the 2008 Los Angeles Business Journal CFO of the Year Awards.

Zahner holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J. School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland.

Evan Green

Chief Marketing Officer

Evan Green

Chief Marketing Officer

Evan Greene is the Chief Marketing Officer at the Recording Academy™, overseeing brand strategy and marketing for the Academy and its sub-brands—the GRAMMY Awards®, MusiCares®, and the GRAMMY Museum®.

Greene has applied his expertise in advertising, analytics, brand strategy, integrated partnerships, and marketing communications to drive innovation across the music industry's most vital organization. During his tenure, he has acted as an agent of change for music's biggest brand, evolving a traditional, nonprofit trade organization into a dynamic, global business entity. Greene is responsible for leading the repositioning of the Recording Academy by shifting the communications strategy, establishing a lucrative worldwide licensing program, solidifying a cutting-edge social media presence, crafting world-class brand partnerships, and increasing marketing-based revenue by more than 600 percent.

Under his direction, the Recording Academy has been consistently recognized for marketing innovation and creativity with an array of the industry's most prestigious awards, including Grand Clio, Cannes Lion, Reggie, Prism, PRO, and Webby, among many others.

Prior to joining the Recording Academy, Greene spent 10 years in theatrical marketing, working for Walt Disney Studios and Columbia Pictures (Sony).

He currently serves on boards for Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, K9s for Warriors (advisory board), Artist & Athlete's Alliance, The CMO Club, and University of Colorado Leeds School of Business.

Greene holds a double bachelor's degree in marketing and international business from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Branden Chapman

Executive In Charge Of Production & Chief Business Development Officer

Branden Chapman

Executive In Charge Of Production & Chief Business Development Officer

Branden Chapman serves as Executive in Charge of Production & Chief Business Development Officer for the Recording Academy™.

As Executive in Charge of Production, Chapman oversees the telecast logistics, including revenue and cost management, timeline scheduling, creative development, ticketing, credentialing, venue relations, security, and municipal relations. He oversees the production department for the Academy's telecast properties—the GRAMMY Awards® and other annual GRAMMY®-branded specials in addition to the Latin GRAMMY Awards®. Chapman is responsible for the planning, management, and execution of various special projects and productions for the Recording Academy and The Latin Recording Academy®, including premier annual GRAMMY Week events. During his tenure, he has conceived and launched events featuring the Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, JAY-Z, Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Sam Smith, among others.

As Chief Business Development Officer, Chapman oversees many of the Academy's business development initiatives, including the international sales of the telecast properties and brand expansion efforts. He was appointed as the Academy representative to manage the early development of the GRAMMY Museum®, which opened in 2008.

Prior to joining the organization in July 2001, Chapman had more than seven years of experience in television, event production, and management consulting. He currently serves on the boards of the GRAMMY Museum and the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. In 2003 he was named Event Planner of the Year by BizBash.

Chapman earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1994 with a dual emphasis on entrepreneurship and marketing.

Daryl Friedman

Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer

Daryl Friedman

Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer

Daryl P. Friedman serves as Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer for the Recording Academy™ and is responsible for overseeing the advocacy, membership, and industry relations divisions. Friedman also orchestrates cross-departmental efforts to advance the overall advocacy goals of the Recording Academy.

Friedman joined the Recording Academy in 1997, establishing the organization's Washington, D.C. office, which he has since grown from a sole member to a five-person team. During his tenure, he created and launched GRAMMYs on the Hill®, Washington's largest annual music advocacy program, as well as a number of programs to advance the rights of music creators through advocacy, education, and dialogue. Friedman also leads the charge on the Academy's annual District Advocate program—a nationwide grassroots effort that has become the largest music advocacy activation in the United States.

A music industry professional for more than 30 years, Friedman previously directed external affairs for the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.

Friedman was named Executive of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association in 2000 and currently serves on the boards of the National Music Council and Creative Community for Peace.

He received his master's degree in arts management from American University in Washington, D.C., and his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Rick Engdahl

Chief Information Officer

Rick Engdahl

Chief Information Officer

Rick Engdahl serves as Chief Information Officer for the Recording Academy™ and is responsible for overseeing all computer, networking, security, telecommunications, data operations, and software development for the Academy and its sub-brands—MusiCares® and the GRAMMY Museum® along with The Latin Recording Academy®. Engdahl also manages technical operations for the remote production offices and event production during the telecasts for both the Recording Academy and The Latin Recording Academy.

For more than 30 years, Engdahl has been involved in various facets of the entertainment industry. He began his career training producers and directors on the budgeting and scheduling software process for film and television projects for major film studios. Engdahl also served six years as the director of information services for Walt Disney Company's film and television divisions, where he was responsible for the implementation and operation of all production and financial computer systems for their live-action feature film divisions, including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and Miramax. Most recently, Engdahl spent four years as the vice president of information technology at Sega Entertainment U.S.A., Inc, a North American entertainment/restaurant chain originally created by Steven Spielberg and Universal. During his tenure at Sega, he established centralized, real-time financial and gaming systems used for marketing trends and statistical analysis.

Engdahl holds a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics/computer science from UCLA.

Gaetano Frizzi

Chief People & Culture Officer

Gaetano Frizzi

Chief People & Culture Officer

Gaetano Frizzi is Chief People & Culture Officer for the Recording Academy™, serving as a key strategic partner and executive coach to the Academy's President/CEO, senior management team, department heads, Chapter executives, and elected leaders. He is responsible for nationwide HR-related activities, strategic planning, talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusion initiatives, employee engagement and relations, training and development, legal compliance, health and wellness, best practices, and policy and program development. He also drives change initiatives related to organizational structure, process/technology, strategy, and company culture for the Recording Academy, The Latin Recording Academy®, MusiCares®, the GRAMMY Museum®, and the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation®.

As an Officer and member of the Recording Academy's executive leadership team, Digital Media Steering Committee, and 401K Committee, Frizzi's efforts have contributed to the Academy maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where employees from all backgrounds and cultures feel welcome. Since his arrival in 2002, Frizzi has controlled all employee benefit program-related costs while ensuring the Academy continues to be a highly desirable and competitive employer through his ongoing survey, analysis and benchmarking of the Academy’s business partners, which includes pay scales, titles, benefits, and organizational structure. Under his leadership, the People & Culture department has minimized Academy HR-related legal exposure and associated costs, along with talent acquisition costs. His team has spearheaded programs and initiatives that encourage a healthier lifestyle and workplace, promote work/life balance, and greatly improve employee relations and morale. This includes wellness programs and the production of staff appreciation luncheons that include staff recognition and performances by GRAMMY®-winning artists.

Frizzi's diverse entertainment industry HR experience includes senior positions with multiplatform global media entertainment brands including Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Viacom, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, where his efforts earned the company an Employer of the Year Award honoring the placement of physically challenged employees.

David Konjoyan

Vice President, Creative Services

David Konjoyan

Vice President, Creative Services

David Konjoyan serves as the Vice President of Creative Services for the Recording Academy™, overseeing the organization's print and design projects with the twin goals of on-brand messaging and a creative aesthetic. He is a key partner in developing and producing the Academy’s creative collateral in support of its programs and initiatives, including the GRAMMY Awards® and Latin GRAMMY Awards®.  

Additionally, he is responsible for publishing the official program books for the GRAMMY® and Latin GRAMMY Awards telecasts and special book projects such as 2017's A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends™ and the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame 40th Anniversary celebration book. He also runs lead on the business relationship with Billboard that produces the Billboard/GRAMMY Nominations Guide and Preview issues. In 2007 he edited And The GRAMMY Goes To..., a coffee table book celebrating 50 years of the GRAMMY Awards.

Prior to joining the Recording Academy, he worked as a music journalist and held positions in radio promotion and public relations. He's written articles for numerous publications as well as album liner notes and press packages. Konjoyan has also developed and executive produced two albums—1994's tribute to Karen and Richard Carpenter, If I Were A Carpenter, and the off-beat nod to the neo-lounge movement, Lounge-A-Palooza, in 1997.

He has served on the Board of Directors of the Western Publishing Association.

Konjoyan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Segura Mueller

Vice President, Membership & Industry Relations

Laura Segura Mueller

Vice President, Membership & Industry Relations

Laura Segura Mueller is the Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations for the Recording Academy™. She is responsible for spearheading the restructure of the organization's 12-Chapter system while leading the departmental effort to put a concentrated focus on industry relations. She oversees all member account services, programming initiatives, outreach strategies, and industry relations for the Academy's 25,000-plus members across the country.

During her tenure, the Academy has benefited from numerous initiatives led by Mueller, including refreshed Chapter operations and evolved membership qualifications. She's also made significant enhancements to Chapter programming, including targeted audience events, genre outreach initatives, and carefully-curated summits and round table programs.

Over the years, Mueller has built her professional career in service of entrepreneurial and independent creators, with a focus on membership programs, philanthropy, and community engagement strategies. Prior to joining the Recording Academy, she led the global alliances department at the X Prize Foundation where she oversaw membership fundraising programs and outreach events. She also served as the key relationships manager for partnering philanthropists, trustees, major gift members, corporations, and foundations.

Prior to X Prize, she worked for Film Independent; a nonprofit membership organization best known for the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Here she cultivated the company's entertainment industry constituent base, including all levels of annual members and donors.

Mueller studied communications, journalism, and ethics and democracy at the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She received a graduate certificate from Harvard University in exponential fundraising.

Michael Sticka

Executive Director, GRAMMY Museum

Michael Sticka

Executive Director, GRAMMY Museum

Michael Sticka serves as Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum®. In his role, he is responsible for creating and executing the Museum's strategy of growth and sustainability as an independent nonprofit arts organization. Drawing on his strong belief in community and the necessity of arts for all, he established a Department of Community Engagement, empowered to create deep and impactful community partnerships throughout Los Angeles. In his first communication to the members of the Museum and to the public, Sticka launched his vision of the GRAMMY Museum as a world class cultural institution and industry leader of museums.

Sticka joined the Recording Academy™ in March 2014 as Assistant Controller/Director of Accounting, after having consulted for the Academy's Business Affairs Department. He was later appointed Director of Finance and Administration for the GRAMMY Museum, where he successfully designed and oversaw a strategic planning process to evaluate and strategize for the future of the GRAMMY Foundation® and GRAMMY Museum as a combined entity.

Prior to joining the Academy, he spent a majority of his career as a consultant for nonprofit organizations and running a small, independent nonprofit theatre in Dayton, Ohio. He spent five years at Blackbaud, Inc., working as a financial and fundraising consultant for more than 200 nonprofits throughout North America.

After leaving Blackbaud, Sticka served as vice president of Strategic Leadership Associates in Dayton, a leadership and management consulting firm with a strong history and portfolio of improving organizations and their business practices.

During his time living in Dayton, Sticka focused much of his energy on his passion for theatre and the arts. He co-founded The Zoot Theatre Company in Dayton with a long-time friend and colleague. While executive director of Zoot, Sticka produced in-school performances for more than 100 schools throughout the region and worked with storied institutions, such as the Dayton Philharmonic, the Dayton Opera, the Human Race Theatre Company, the Victoria Theatre Association, and more.

He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Dayton.

Debbie Carroll

Vice President, MusiCares (Health & Human Services)

Debbie Carroll

Vice President, MusiCares (Health & Human Services)

Debbie Carroll, Vice President of MusiCares® Health & Human Services, is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing MusiCares’ programs and services nationally. Under her leadership, MusiCares has succeeded in substantially increasing their programs and services from 230 clients and $236,000 distributed in 1998 to approximately 8,600 clients and more than $6.5 million distributed in 2018. 10 years ago, Carroll was instrumental in launching MusiCares’ first Preventative Healthy Essentials Clinic. Since then, the program has expanded to over 300 annual events nationwide that address medical issues, dental and hearing health, addiction recovery services, and educational topics of interest to music people.

With nine years prior experience in the human services field, Carroll joined MusiCares in August of 1998, and worked in various capacities in the health care industry, ranging from hospital settings to private practice. During the course of her illustrious career, Carroll was instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Georgia.

She currently serves as chairman of ACM Lifting Lives as well as the Onsite Foundation Board of Directors and serves on the Cumberland Heights and Music Health Alliance Advisory Boards. She has been honored for the past five years with the Nashville Business Journal’s Women in Music Business Award. Carroll has received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, such as the Communication Service Award through the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center in 2015.

Carroll holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Georgia, and her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.