Resignation of Grammy's aggressive longtime president throws music organization into flux

Tuesday, April 30th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Like an orchestra performing without a conductor, the Grammy organization will be playing it by ear over the next year following the sudden resignation of its aggressive longtime president C. Michael Greene.

While there's likely to be little impact on the Grammy show itself, some of Greene's pet projects face uncertain futures under new leadership.

Those include a proposed retirement community for music professionals, the still-struggling 3-year-old Latin Grammys and Greene's plan to convene a massive industry summit to discuss artists' rights and copyright protection.

Grammy trustees met Monday at the group's Santa Monica headquarters to take stock of the situation and begin the search for a new president and CEO. Meanwhile, Greene met with staffers and said the nonprofit group was otherwise healthy.

``He said the best time to retire from baseball is after you have won the World Series,'' Grammy spokesman Ron Roecker said. ``So he thought now was the best time to step down because the organization is in really great shape.''

When Greene took over in the mid-1980s, the organization had 14 employees, 3,500 members and $4.9 million in assets. The Grammy organization currently has about 120 staffers, 17,000 members and more than $50 million in assets.

During his tenure, Greene was dogged by investigations into whether charity funds raised by the Recording Academy were used properly and many considered him to be overly temperamental.

Daily business at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will be overseen by Grammy trustees chairman Garth Fundis, who convened the emergency meeting over the weekend that resulted in Greene's resignation.

A probe into Greene's alleged sexual harassment of female employees cleared him of wrongdoing, and the Grammy president stepped down for unspecified reasons, Fundis said. Details of the investigation were not released.

The Recording Academy will likely seek a replacement who is more diplomatic and willing to share power with trustees. No formal candidates were suggested on Monday.

''(Greene) ran the Grammys like a one-man band, wielding power over a Hollywood award like no one other person in showbiz history,'' said Tom O'Neil, author of ``The Grammys,'' an unofficial guide to the music show. ``Today, that's rare in an industry run by committee.''