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Rock Hall of Fame names new president and CEO

December 03, 2012|By Randy Lewis
  • Terry Stewart, left, will hand over the reins at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to new President and CEO Gregory S. Harris.
Terry Stewart, left, will hand over the reins at the Rock and Roll Hall of… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is getting a new chief executive, with its vice president of development Gregory S. Harris succeeding longtime President and CEO Terry Stewart at the helm when Stewart steps down at the end of this year.

Board chair William W. Rowley, who headed a seven-member search committee that began in May after Stewart announced his decision to retire at the end of the year, said of Harris:  “His passion for music, his tremendous success as our head of development and his strong track record at the Baseball Hall of Fame provide an outstanding combination of skills that will help drive the continued success of the museum.”

Before joining the rock hall in 2008, Harris spent 14 years at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Anyone curious about his rock music credentials need only look back to the 1980s, when he and a partner launched and operated the Philadelphia Record Exchange retail store, where he exploited a lifelong passion for rock, blues, soul, country, folk, punk and other branches of pop music.

"I'm honored to be entrusted to lead the organization that preserves and presents this amazing art form for future generations,” Harris said in a statement. “Rock and roll is deeply rooted in our culture and when interpreted through a museum, provides a powerful forum to teach and inspire. Through Terry Stewart’s leadership, the staff has put this institution on solid ground. The Rock Hall is in the best shape ever and I’m looking forward to a tremendous future.”

Harris will take over as president and CEO on Jan. 1. Stewart had been top executive at the hall since 1999, four years after it opened its facility in Cleveland in 1995.

“We were impressed by the outstanding caliber of every one of the candidates we interviewed,” said Jann Wenner, the Rolling Stone magazine publisher who also is board chairman of the Rock Hall Foundation.  “Clearly, however, Greg had the best mix of experience, vision and passion for the art.  We now look forward to seeing even greater things from him and the team at the museum.”

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

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