The Recording Academy announced Friday (Sept. 17) that Ruby Marchand has been appointed chief awards & industry officer and Joanna Chu has ben elevated to vice president of awards, effective immediately.
The promotions follow the recent departure of Bill Freimuth, the Academy’s chief awards officer.
Previously, Marchand, who joined the Academy staff in 2020, was chief industry officer; Chu, who joined in 2004, was managing director of awards.
This isn’t the first time that women have run the awards department. Diane Theriot headed the department from 1992 to 2008, when Freimuth took over. In that time, Theriot advanced from vice president, awards to senior vice president of awards.
Marchand will continue to oversee both awards and membership & industry relations, reporting to Academy co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones. In her expanded role, Marchand will work closely with genre managers on the awards team to boost outreach to various musical communities. Marchand focuses on creative strategies that enhance the natural alignment between awards and membership, overseeing the membership team as well as the leaders of the Producers & Engineers Wing, Songwriters & Composers Wing and GRAMMY U.
In her newly created position, Chu will draw on her expertise in awards systems and operations by leading the team through all aspects of awards season. Chu will report to Marchand and join her in reinforcing key Academy initiatives throughout the awards process, with a special emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I am proud to welcome Ruby and Joanna into their new positions as we work to enhance our awards processes from the inside out,” Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “Their expertise in this space is highly valuable as we continue to refine the Recording Academy’s role in the music industry and work to provide the highest quality of service to our members.”
Prior to joining the executive team, Marchand held several elected leadership roles at the Academy. In 2004, she was elected governor and vice president of the New York chapter, where she chaired Grammy in the Schools for more than 12 years. In 2011, Marchand was elected a national trustee from the New York chapter and served for two two-year terms. She was elected vice chair of the Academy by the national board of trustees in 2015 and served until 2019, working alongside chair John Poppo all four years.
Additionally, she was co-chair of the awards & nominations committee for seven years and, among other things, helped drive new eligibility rules related to streaming. Marchand was a member of the national advocacy committee in 2015-16 and represented the Academy on a historic trade mission to Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong in 2014 with A2IM and several independent labels.
Marchand previously held leadership roles at Warner Music Group, including vice president of international A&R for 25 years, head of A&R for Cordless Recordings and Rykodisc, and senior vice president of revenue and repertoire assurance. Marchand has served as a consultant to the music and performing arts professions’ School at NYU and at other companies and organizations. She is a former executive-in-residence and adjunct professor at NYU Steinhardt’s Music Business Program.
Chu previously held director and managing director roles in the Academy’s awards department, where she was responsible for overseeing the departmental staff. Prior to joining the Academy, Chu worked in Silicon Valley as one of the few female software engineers in the aerospace industry for 15 years.
In her new role, Chu will join the Academy’s leadership team. She will become the fifth female executive on the current 13-member roster of top-tier executives. (Marchand was already on the leadership team.)
Note: These tallies include only Academy executives, not those who work for MusiCares or the Grammy Museum. Counting those Academy affiliates, the overall stat for the leadership team is 10 women and 11 men.