The CMA’s Next Leader: Organization Gears up for Country’s Biggest Night While Searching for New CEO

(from Billboard Magazine, September 27, 2013)  The Country Music Association is not only getting ready for its 47th annual CMA Awards on November 6, but it is also in the process of hiring a new CEO to take the place of Steve Moore who resigned on June 30. The search committee received quite a few résumés and phone calls and are very excited about some of the people who are interested in the position. The committee planned to meet at the end of September to compile a short list of applicants to take the position. They hope to select a new CEO by the end of mid-November.

Steve Moore was selected by the CMA board to take over in 2009 when Tammy Genovese resigned. Moore was influential in increasing CMA’s partnership with ABC who now airs “CMA Country Christmas” and a special on the CMA Music Festival. CMA’s President Ed Hardy has been acting as the middle man between the CMA board and CMA management since Moore’s resignation.

John Esposito, President/CEO of Warner Bros. Nashville, says, “The board is seeking leadership, enthusiasm, ability to interact with a broad constituency and integrity.”

There has been some negativity towards the board for looking outside the Nashville community. Esposito says, “We’ve made a specific determination to look for somebody who has worked in the entertainment business, preferably the music business. We just want the right candidate, whether they’re from inside or outside of Nashville.”

Whoever takes on the role of CEO is stepping in at a very important time in CMA’s history. In 1958, when the association was founded, it was the first organization to support a specific genre.

Jo Walker-Meador was the second Executive Director for CMA and served in her position for more than three decades. Walker-Meador says that TV exposure of country music was one of CMA’s main goals, and she’s happy with the progress that has been made. CMA would also like to expand country music internationally. The board is looking for someone like Walker-Meador who will hold the leadership role for many years to come and provide stability for the organization.