Sony Music Group has created a new position in its highest ranks, naming Towalame Austin as its first executive vp philanthropy and social impact.
The Los Angeles-based role, which will expand across both Sony’s recorded music and Sony/ATV Music Publishing divisions, will see Austin reporting jointly to Sony Music Entertainment COO Kevin Kelleher and Sony/ATV chairman/CEO Jon Platt.
Austin will be working on Sony’s humanitarian efforts and partnerships, extending the company’s philanthropic programs across the globe and advising Sony’s employees and artists on charitable work, according to the company.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Towalame to this important role at our company as we further develop our strategy in this vital area,” Kelleher said in a statement. “Her extensive experience and deep understanding of companies that represent artists and the beneficial influence they can have on social causes aligns well with our growing efforts to positively impact our global society.”
“I have known Towalame professionally for many years, and genuinely admire what she has accomplished as a strategic advisor for non-profits,” Platt added in a statement. “Through her work with some of the most influential leaders in music and entertainment, Towalame has helped chart a new course for creative companies to authentically give back to the communities they serve. I look forward to her guidance in expanding our impact as a socially-conscious organization.”
Austin arrives at Sony from Roc Nation, where she most recently held the position of executive of philanthropy. While at Roc Nation, she worked on Jay Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation and the Reform Alliance, while launching Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and DJ Khaled’s We The Best Foundation, as well as working with Big Sean, Mariah Carey and others on their philanthropic efforts. She previously served in executive roles at non-profits like the Magic Johnson Foundation and the Mourning Family Foundation.
“It is an honor to join Sony Music Group and deliver on their promise to meaningfully support communities in need,” Austin said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing my expertise to the company to help develop its philanthropic and advocacy efforts globally.”
Sony is one of several major record labels who have stepped up during the past few months amid both the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread protests following the murder of George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis at the end of May. In June, Sony Music Group launched a $100 million fund to support social justice and anti-racism initiatives, while Sony Corp. launched a $100 million virus relief fund in April, with Sony Music vowing to match all employee donations to coronavirus relief efforts.