Rodney Shealey named EVP at Def Jam Recordings, as Theda Sandiford steps up to SVP role

Def Jam Recordings has promoted respected label veteran Rodney Shealey to the position of Executive Vice President.

In what the Universal-owned record company calls “a strategic move to strengthen and restructure the top levels of [our] executive leadership team”, Def Jam has also promoted Theda Sandiford to Senior Vice President, Commerce.

Both exec moves were announced today by Paul Rosenberg, Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings.

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, Sandiford will now head Def Jam’s growing commerce and digital marketing initiatives.

Shealey (pictured left) and Sandiford (pictured right), who are both based in New York, will report directly to 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,” 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.”

“Rodney and Theda are seasoned, veteran leaders who have earned the respect of their colleagues throughout Def Jam, UMG, and the industry at large.”

Paul Rosenberg, Def Jam

“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 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 Sandiford.

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

Shealey, who has served as Def Jam’s Execu­tive Vice President, Urban Promotion since 2014, is a 12-year Urban Promotion veteran of the company, having first joined the promotions 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, Shealey spent two years as Senior Vice President, Promotion, Virgin Records.

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.

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.

Sandiford’s early New York background in music includes positions at WBLS/WLIB, WYNY, and Billboard magazine, where she was nominated for Music Director 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, Sandiford became a Certified Sommelier with the International Wine Guild in 2010.Music Business Worldwide

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