Longtime SAG exec John Sucke, the target of extensive criticism for last year’s bungled SAG election, has announced his retirement.
Florida exec director Hollis Batchelor will succeed Sucke immediately as deputy national exec director for organizing, education and branch management. Batchelor, who has worked for SAG since 1978, will remain based in Miami.
Sucke, who has been New York branch exec director since 1985, will continue as senior New York exec until October and then serve as a consultant to SAG during the upcoming move of the New York offices.
“I will certainly miss all the good friends I have made over the years and the sense of achievement a job like this makes possible, but this is a time for renewal of the union’s structure,” Sucke said.
The move comes six months after SAG’s elections committee threw out last year’s national election and ordered an unprecedented re-run, blaming Sucke and national director of guild governance Clinta Dayton for allowing the contest to be run with two different sets of procedures. The panel said the conduct of the execs fell “far short” of providing a level playing field for candidates, prompting calls by candidates and board members for CEO Bob Pisano to take action.
Pisano, however, warned the SAG national board that such demands on him could have the opposite effect and issued a laudatory statement Monday, saying: “We thank John for his dedication and the tremendous contributions he has made to SAG over the years. We are delighted he will remain available to us as a consultant.”
Dayton announced her retirement in late April.
Pisano, who became CEO in September, has significantly scaled back the size of SAG’s new Gotham offices amid persistent questions about its 20-year, $56 million lease agreement. SAG dropped its original plan to occupy three floors and now plans to take up only two floors due to reduced staffing requirements.
The controversy over the New York offices ignited last year when former guild CFO Gerald Wilson recommended against the move due to its projected cost hike of $1 million over the current location at Times Square. Sucke dismissed Wilson’s idea of relocating to a less costly facility.