"Illegal ripping of music is pervasive, out of control and it's oh so criminal," lectured a finger-wagging C. Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), when he took the stage at the Grammy Awards in February. This weekend, it was Greene's turn to face wagging fingers.
The NARAS board of trustees held an emergency meeting on Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, to call for Greene's resignation, with 38 trustees flying in from 12 chapters nationwide to attend, the Associated Press reported. On Sunday, Greene issued his letter of resignation.
Greene's departure comes after years of controversy. Since September, Greene has been under investigation for sexually harassing female employees. In October, the Academy and Greene settled out-of-court for $650,000 with two employees, though Greene continued to deny their claims. Greene has also been investigated for financial misconduct, but an internal inquiry four years ago determined that he had done no wrong.
A statement issued by NARAS specified that the claims of sexual misconduct had nothing to do with Greene's departure, though they didn't specify why he resigned, nor did they address why the board called for his resignation at this point in his 13-year tenure as company president.
Greene, who had three years left on his $2 million-a-year contract, will receive an $8 million severance package that includes his bonus from a Grammy contract with CBS. Earlier in the year, he had brokered a five-year extension of the Grammy broadcast rights with the network for more than $20 million a year. (MTV's parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.)
But don't expect Greene, the highest paid non-profit executive in the nation, to immediately drop out of sight. He will remain at NARAS through September as a full-time consultant, which should give him plenty of time to ruffle a few more feathers (see "Kurt Loder On The Grammys: Close, But No Cigar").
For more Grammy news, check out the MTV News Grammy Archive.