You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

SAG zeroes in on tapping top exec

Topper may be announced within weeks

HOLLYWOOD — The Screen Actors Guild, forging ahead in the face of the John Cooke fiasco, has narrowed its second search for a top exec.

The new national executive director could be tapped by the national board within the next several weeks although SAG leaders have remained tight-lipped over details. The board’s next scheduled meeting is a two-day confab starting Sept. 10.

SAG’s search committee relaunched the exploration process in mid-July following its ill-fated selection of Cooke, who quit the post of national executive director/CEO 10 days after agreeing to take the job. At the time, Cooke cited a letter from nine board members that he perceived as questioning his authority to act as CEO, although the letter signers — including presidential candidate Melissa Gilbert — have insisted they had no intention of pushing Cooke out.

For many in Hollywood, Cooke’s departure served to underline ongoing internal battles that have dogged the guild. Last year’s SAG-funded Towers Perrin report described SAG as “organizational chaos,” detailing repeated instances of inefficiency and sniping between staff and elected leaders.

Cooke, contacted Wednesday, continued to decline further comment on SAG other than saying, “I have nothing more to say.”

SAG has been without a national exec director for more than seven months since the retirement of long-time chief Ken Orsatti, who announced last October he would step down. Associate national exec director John McGuire, who took himself out of the running at the time of Orsatti’s announcement, remains the top SAG exec.

The new SAG topper is expected to be paid in the range of $390,000 annually, the figure Cooke negotiated for his five-year deal. The nine-member search committee continues to be advised by Korn/Ferry Intl. and includes Nat Benchley, one of the nine letter signers, and presidential candidate Valerie Harper.

Additionally, board member and presidential candidate Eugene Boggs has asked the national board to rescind the June 25 vote that transferred the title of “CEO” from the president to the national executive director.

When Cooke accepted the SAG post, he said he planned to leave his exec slot at the J. Paul Getty Museum by Labor Day. Cooke said Wednesday he has been in discussions about other jobs but declined to elaborate.

More Biz

  • Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has signed with Arista, sources tell Variety. While the singer was formerly linked with Epic Records in 2017, he is signed directly to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and will move within the Sony Music family to Arista. Tomlinson teased a new single on Feb. 2, posting on Twitter, “Just heard the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Bail Set at $100,000, Must Surrender Passport

    UPDATED: A Chicago judge set a $100,000 bond for Jussie Smollett on Thursday, as the “Empire” actor made his first court appearance. Smollett faces one felony count of filing a false police report. Police allege that Smollett staged a Jan. 29 attack, telling detectives that he was accosted by two men who used racial and [...]

  • Michael Jackson Estate Accuses HBO of

    Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO for Non-Disparagement Contract Breach

    The estate of Michael Jackson sued HBO on Thursday, accusing the cable channel of violating a non-disparagement clause by agreeing to run “Leaving Neverland,” a documentary accusing Jackson of sexual abuse. The suit seeks to compel HBO to litigate the matter in a public arbitration process, and claims that the estate could be awarded $100 [...]

  • Allison Kaye

    Scooter Braun Names Allison Kaye Partner at Ithaca Holdings (EXCLUSIVE)

    On the back of a history-making debut by Ariana Grande, who claims the top three songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week (tying the Beatles), Scooter Braun has appointed his longtime deputy Allison Kaye to partner at Ithaca Holdings LLC, which houses SB Projects. She was previously president of music at the 12-year-old [...]

  • Tidal Launches $1 Million Program to

    Tidal Launches Unplugged, $1 Million Program to Support Emerging Musicians

    Tidal, the streaming platform headed by Jay-Z, today announced the launch of a million-dollar artist grant program intended to support emerging musicians. Called Tidal Unplugged and funded by a donation from venture capitalists and philanthropists Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen, the program will kick off March 1 in Detroit, where Lampert’s grandfather started his musical career. [...]

  • Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten Lead

    Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten, Lead Initial Lineup for Renovated Webster Hall

    New York’s classic venue Webster Hall, which will reopen this spring after a months-long renovation, has announced the first run of shows after its relaunch: Patti Smith and Her Band, Broken Social Scene, MGMT, Empire of the Sun, Old Dominion, Sharon Van Etten, Built to Spill, Real Estate, Chromeo and Big Thief are among the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing False Police Report

    “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, the Chicago police said Wednesday. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter. Smollett is due to appear in court for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content