Maxine Powell, the Motown Records executive who taught Smokey Robinson, The Supremes and the Jackson five the importance of style and grace, has died at the age of 98.

Powell, the head of the legendary label's Artists Development Department, passed away from natural causes at a hospital in Michigan on Monday (14Oct13).

Powell's department was a finishing school of sorts, which served to help train label boss Berry Gordy's up-and-coming stars. She also imparted her knowledge about style and class to the singers.

Paying tribute to Powell during a special event at the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit in August (13), Robinson said, "She was such an important, integral part of what we were doing here at Motown. It didn't matter who you became during the course of your career - how many hits you had, how well your name was known around the world. Two days a week when you were back in Detroit you had to go to artists' development. It was mandatory."