Outlook Murky for SAG-AFTRA Talks If David White Leaves for NBPA Post

He’s been national executive director of SAG-AFTRA since 2009, so you can’t really call David White’s possible exit from that post in the next few months a fast break.

White emerged in mid-February as a finalist for a similar post with the National Basketball Players Assn. along with Washington, D.C.-based trial attorney Michele Roberts. White told the national board at that point that no decision had been made, and that SAG-AFTRA would be in good hands if he did leave.

The NBPA has stayed mum, and is expected to wait until the end of the playoffs in June before announcing a decision. Under that scenario, there would be time for White to lead SAG-AFTRA negotiations with producers on a successor deal. Sources agree White is the front-runner to fill the NBPA slot, vacated last year when Billy Hunter was fired for alleged financial malfeasance.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s general counsel and chief operating officer, is the front-runner to succeed White. He’s been the No. 2 exec since White was hired and, like White, is low-key with an extensive legal background.

The buttoned-down approach of both men carries clout with the union’s elected leadership, which has preached pragmatism during White’s tenure. Crabtree-Ireland began working for SAG in 2000.

Other possibilities include Ray Rodriguez, national exec contracts director since 2007; senior adviser John McGuire; and Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, the national exec director of AFTRA before it merged with SAG, who is currently heading the American Youth Soccer Organization.

SAG-AFTRA is not expected to hire a search firm as it did in 2006 when SAG hired former NFL player Doug Allen. Allen was replaced by White three years later.

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