SYDNEY — Mike Connors, who’s been Jack Valenti’s right-hand man in Asia for the past 14 years, is stepping down from the Motion Picture Assn. at the end of this month.
Connors, 66, will form his own consultancy.
His duties will be assumed by Mike Ellis, the MPA’s Hong Kong-based VP and regional director for Asia-Pacific anti-piracy operations.
Ellis will move from Hong Kong to Singapore.
As the MPA’s Singapore-based senior veep for Asia, Connors was instrumental in lobbying the Chinese government to reform the laws restricting foreign investment in cinemas and in ending the China Film Group’s monopoly in national film distribution.
He’s also pressed Hollywood’s case for the easing or abolition of local screen quotas in South Korea.
Connors and Ellis were in Sydney this week for meetings with reps of the MPA member studios and to highlight the antipiracy program spearheaded by the MPA-backed Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft.
Connors notes he’s departing the trade org in the same year as prexy-CEO Valenti. “It’s been an honor to work for Jack; he is an exceptional personality,” Connors said.
A State Dept. rep in Asia before he joined the MPA, Connors intends to remain in the region.
He says his new shingle will help businesses use his contacts with “people in high places,” especially in China. “I’ve been building bridges of communication with government leaders for years,” he added.