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Def Jam Fortefies Executive Team, Promoted Rodney Shealey and Theda Sandiford


Promoted to Senior Vice President, CommerceDef Jam Recordings, in a strategic move to strengthen and restructure the top levels of its executive leadership team, has promoted the widely respected label veteran Rodney Shealey to Executive Vice President of the label, and has promoted to Senior Vice President, Commerce, it was announced today by Paul Rosenberg, Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings, a division of (UMG).

In his newly expanded role, Mr. Shealey will work closely with Def Jam’s artists, managers and partners to design and execute strategies across all platforms. Mr. Shealey will now oversee Def Jam’s marketing department while continuing to run its urban promotion division. At the same time, Ms. Sandiford, who has excelled within UMG in the fields of marketing, sales, and international commerce, will now head Def Jam’s growing commerce and digital marketing initiatives. Mr. Shealey and Ms. Sandiford, who are based in New York, will report directly to Mr. Rosenberg.

“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.”

“I’m excited to hit the ground running in this new role at Def Jam, the label I’ve called home for the past twelve years,” said Mr. 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.”

“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 Ms. Sandiford. “It’s an honor and pleasure to represent the brand and the next generation of hip-hop cultural purveyors.”

Mr. Shealey, who has served as Execu­tive Vice President, Urban Promotion, since 2014, is a 12-year Urban Promotion veteran of Def Jam, having first joined the department in 2007, as Vice President, and having been promoted to Senior Vice President in 2010. He began his career at Epic Records where he was mentored by the late Polly Anthony, and rose to the post of Senior Vice President, Promotion. Prior to his arrival at Def Jam, Mr. Shealey spent two years as Senior Vice President, Promotion, Virgin Records.

Ms. Sandiford entered the UMG commerce sector in 2016, as Vice President, Commercial Partnerships, and was promoted last year to Senior Vice President, International Commerce & Digital Marketing. Prior to UMG, she spent four years as Vice President, Digital Marketing & Sales, Republic Records (a division of UMG). Her first stint with the company was in 1999, a four year engagement as Senior 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 arriving at Republic in 2012.

Ms. Sandiford’s early New York background in music includes positions at WBLS/WLIB, WYNY, and , where she was nominated for of the Year in 1995, by both CMA and Billboard. She graduated from Tufts University in Boston, 1992, with the Bachelor Of Arts degree in American Studies. In addition to her music business talents, Ms. Sandiford became a Certified Sommelier with the International Wine Guild in 2010.

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