On Tuesday, the newly-installed board of governors of the motion picture academy re-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 87-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.
Last year, she defeated Lionsgate exec Rob Friedman to replace producer Hawk Koch, who served a single one-year term. He had not been eligible for re-election to the board due to term limits that allow for only three consecutive three-year stints as a governor.
However, as Koch had done last year, Issacs also broke with precedent and re-upped Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron months ago, rather than awaiting these results. Granted, she was likely to be re-elected given the board’s history of giving the president the maximum number of one-year terms (four) barring their being precluded from serving due to the nine-year limit imposed on governors.
Issacs has been on the board for 22 years, albeit with mandated breaks, and presides over an expanded group of 51 governors (with three people now representing each of the 17 branches) that includes a record 14 women.
However, she remains the lone female on the executive committee. Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland steps up from vice president to first vice president, replacing animator John Lasseter who had to exit due to term limits. Two of the other execs were re-elected as well: makeup artist Leonard Engelman as a VP and ex-Disney chief Dick Cook as treasurer. Lenser John Bailey was elected vice president while animator Bill Kroyer will be secretary.
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