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Def Jam Recordings announced a restructured executive leadership team — Rodney Shealey has been promoted to EVP of the label, and Theda Sandiford has been upped to SVP of Commerce.
In his newly expanded role, Shealey will work closely with Def Jam’s artists, managers and partners to design and execute strategies across all platforms. He will now oversee Def Jam’s marketing department while continuing to run its Urban promotion division. At the same time, Ms. Sandiford (right) will now head Def Jam’s growing commerce and digital marketing initiatives.
Both are based in New York and report to Paul Rosenberg, Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings, who commented, “Rodney and Theda are seasoned, veteran leaders who have earned the respect of their colleagues throughout Def Jam, UMG, and the industry at large,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “They represent the forward vanguard of imaginative executives whose task it will be to develop global success for our outstanding roster of artists.”
Shealey is a 12-year Def Jam veteran who has served as EVP of Urban Promotion since 2014. He joined company as VP in 2007 and was promoted to SVP in 2010. Shealey earlier spent two years with Virgin Records as SVP of Promotion, and he began his career at Epic Records, where, under the mentorship of the late Polly Anthony he rose to Senior Vice President, Promotion. “I’m excited to hit the ground running in this new role at Def Jam, the label I’ve called home for the past 12 years,” said Shealey. “In that time we’ve had a lot of success, broken a lot of records, and launched the careers of a lot of superstars. It’s time to take up the mantle of a new set of goals and challenges. We’re developing a roster of emerging artists here at Def Jam that have amazing potential. I’m thrilled to work with Paul Rosenberg, Rich Isaacson and the executive team here to unleash that potential and deliver incredible music and artists on behalf of this iconic label.”
Ms. Sandiford entered the UMG commerce sector in 2016 as VP, Commercial Partnerships, and last year was promoted to SVP, International Commerce & Digital Marketing. Prior to UMG, she spent four years as VP, Digital Marketing & Sales at Republic Records. In 1999 she served as Sr. Director, New Media, at the former Island Def Jam Music Group. She followed that with positions at American Greetings Mobile, Rush Communications, her own Theda Dotcom LLC, and Heatwave Interactive, before joining Republic in 2012. Ms. Sandiford’s early New York music industry background includes positions at WBLS & WLIB, WYNY and Billboard. “Returning to lead the commerce and digital teams at Def Jam where I started my label career in single sales takes my career full-circle,” said Sandiford. “It’s an honor and pleasure to represent the brand and the next generation of hip-hop cultural purveyors.”

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