Motion Picture Television Fund taps MPAA prexy

Bob Pisano, the president and interim CEO of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, has been tapped as chairman of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Board of Directors.

The move follows more than a year of controversy over the fund’s plans to close its long-term care facility and acute-care hospital. Bob Beitcher, who became interim MPTF president and CEO earlier this year, made the announcement Wednesday.

Pisano succeeds Frank Mancuso, who has served in that post since 2003 and will continue to serve on the board for the next two years.

The fund declared in January 2009 that it would shutter the two facilities in Woodland Hills by the end of last year but then backed off on that pledge, asserting that it became more difficult than anticipated to find acceptable beds outside the facility. The resident population had declined by over half since the initial announcement, but 60 patients remained at year end.

Beitcher expressed “profound” appreciation to Mancuso in the announcement.

“Frank led the Fund through a difficult period during which health care and its future became the critical social issue not only for the country but for the Fund and our industry as well,” he said. “Because of his leadership, we are better positioned today than ever before to meet future challenges.”

Pisano has been on MPTF board previously, having been elected in 2003 and serving as a member of its joint planning committee. He joined the MPAA in 2005 as president and chief operation officer following stints as the national exec director at the Screen Actors Guild and as a top exec at MGM and Paramount.

“The Motion Picture & Television Fund has played a vital role in the lives of entertainment industry members for almost nine decades, and I am committed to ensuring that we as an organization continually address the changing needs of those we serve,” Pisano said in a statement. “Above all else, we will continue to stay true to our mission of taking care of our own.”

When Tillman departed in February and Beitcher was named to the interim CEO slot, the MPTF board said it was planning to “actively pursue” a successor.

The MPTF has faced considerable resistance from the grassroots group Saving the Lives of Our Own, which plans to keep fighting the closures. There have been multiple protests asserting that the MPTF is violating its mission of “taking care of our own” within the entertainment industry and the pledge to residents that they’d spend the rest of their lives at the Woodland Hills campus.

MPTF execs have emphasized that the fund will continue to operate its independent and assisted-care facilities in Woodland Hills and half a dozen health centers in the Los Angeles area, along with modernizing the Woodland Hills campus and expanding its medical and social services for industry retirees.

Fund execs have repeatedly said that the state of the economy and rising cost of health care has left them with no alternative about the closures. The two facilities have been operating at an annual funding deficit of about $10 million, a gap that was projected to increase considerably in the coming years.

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