Def Jam Promotes Rodney Shealey to Label’s Exec VP, Theda Sandiford to Senior VP Commerce


Def Jam Recordings has promoted Rodney Shealey to executive vp of the label, company chairman and CEO Paul Rosenberg announced Monday (Sept. 9). Also promoted was Theda Sandiford, who has been named senior vp commerce.

“Rodney and Theda are seasoned, veteran leaders who have earned the respect of their colleagues throughout Def Jam, [Universal Music Group], and the industry at large,” said Rosenberg in a statement. “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 veteran of Def Jam’s urban promotion department, which he first joined in 2007 as vp and was later promoted to senior vp in 2010 and executive vp in 2014. He began his career at Epic Records and later Virgin Records before landing at 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 a statement. “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.”

In his new role, Shealey will oversee Def Jam’s marketing department while working closely with the label’s artists, managers and partners to develop and execute strategies across platforms. He will continue to run the urban promotion division.

Sandiford first joined Def Jam in 1999, when she served as senior director, new media at the former Island Def Jam Music Group for four years. After taking positions at various other companies, including American Greetings Mobile and Rush Communications in the interim, she landed at UMG subsidiary Republic Records in 2012 and later moved to UMG’s commerce sector in 2016 as vp commercial partnerships and later senior vp international commerce and digital marketing.

“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 and Sandiford’s new appointments are part of what is being described as “a strategic move to strengthen and restructure the top levels” of the label’s executive leadership team. Both are based in New York and will report directly to Rosenberg.