On Tuesday, the newly-installed board of governors of the motion picture academy elected marketing exec Cheryl Boone Isaacs as their president. She is the first African American to head up this organization that oversees the Oscars in its 86-year history and just the third woman after Bette Davis (1941) and scripter Fay Kanin (1979 – 1983).
Issacs, who has her own marketing company, was the one-time marketing chief at New Line and prior to that was chief of publicity at Paramount. Her rival for the presidency was Lionsgate exec Rob Friedman.
She replaces producer Hawk Koch, who served a single one-year term. He was not eligible for re-election to the board due to term limits that allow for only three consecutive three-year stints as a governor. However, back in April, Koch broke with precedent by re-upping Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron rather than leaving that decision up to his successor.
Issacs has been on the board for a total of 21 years and will preside over an expanded group of 48 governors (with three people now representing each of the 16 branches) that includes a record 14 women.
However, she is the lone female on the executive committee with animator John Lasseter replacing Issacs as first vice president (after having been both treasurer and secretary), newcomers costume designer Jeffrey Kurland and makeup artist Leonard Engelman who were chosen as VPs and ex-Disney chief Dick Cook who was elected treasurer and scripter Phil Robinson who was elected secretary after four years as a VP.
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