"As a musician and historian, I'm thrilled to see a friend, Greg Harris, named as President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," said Roots drummer, DJ, producer and journalist Questlove. "His store, the Philadelphia Record Exchange, was my home away from home, and most of my 70,000 plus vinyl records came from there."
On Monday, December 3, 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum announced that Gregory S. Harris, the Museum's VP of development since 2008, would be the organization's next president and CEO, successor to current Rock Hall president and CEO Terry Stewart. The transition will be effective January 1, 2013.
"I'm honored to be entrusted to lead the organization that preserves and presents this amazing art form for future generations,” said Harris. “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.”
Earlier this year, current Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum president and CEO Terry Stewart announced that he would be stepping down from his role after leading the Museum for more than a decade. “Since coming to the Rock Hall, Greg has gained deep institutional knowledge and built excellent relationships with the entire Rock Hall team and the Cleveland community,” said Stewart. “Without question, he has the experience and capability as well as the passion, energy and strategic vision needed to lead the Museum to new heights.”
After a broad nationwide search that considered hundreds of candidates, a search committee including representatives from the Cleveland Rock and Roll, Inc. board and the New York–based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation board agreed that Harris was the ideal candidate to become the Rock Hall's next president and CEO. “We were impressed by the outstanding caliber of every one of the candidates we interviewed,” said Rolling Stone magazine co-founder and publisher and chairman of the Foundation Jann Wenner. “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.”
Harris, who holds a graduate degree in Museum studies and whose industry background includes curatorial, membership and sponsorship experience, spent 14 years at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. before coming to the Rock Hall. Harris’ passion for music made the opportunity to shift from baseball to rock and roll an incredibly compelling choice. In the 1980s, he and a partner founded, owned and operated the Philadelphia Record Exchange, a retail store that specialized in selling rare, used and independent records. The store mirrored and amplified his love of rock, R&B, soul, blues, country, folk, punk and other musical genres. He also served as a road manager for a nationally touring group and played guitar in garage bands.
He remains an enthusiastic music lover, regularly attends live concerts and is a frequent contributor to the Rockhall.com blog.
"This is exciting news for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and our community," said Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro. "It takes a unique set of skills and experiences to run a multi-faceted organization like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Greg’s got the love of music, the museum background, the leadership skills and the vision."