MPAA chairman Christopher Dodd has tapped a former senatorial aide and a Democratic communications strategist as part of his new leadership team at the studios’ lobbying org.

He is also promoting Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s exec VP of government affairs, to an expanded role supervising all international, federal and state affairs operations around the world.

Also part of the leadership team will be David England, the MPAA’s chief financial officer, and Joan Graves, chairman of the Classification and Ratings Administration.

Dodd, who started at the MPAA in March after a long career in the Senate, was expected to make high-level hires to bolster the organization.

Laura Nichols, who had been a senior fellow and senior VP of communications and strategies at the Center for American Progress, will become the MPAA’s exec VP of global communications, overseeing all international and domestic communications, media relations, new-media development and special events.

She also has worked as senior VP of corporate communications for PBS and held senior roles for then-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Howard Gantman, VP of corporate communications, will remain in that role and report to Nichols.

Lori McGrogan, who had been acting chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for Dodd while he was in the Senate, will serve as his senior adviser, assisting in long-term planning and day-to-day operations.

She had been a senior adviser to a number of campaigns, including those of Bill Bradley and Joe Lieberman, for which she served as national research director.

O’Leary, who joined the MPAA under previous chairman Dan Glickman, has been guiding the org’s domestic lobbying efforts, including the passage of the Pro-IP Act and the current effort to pass legislation to help authorities crack down on so-called rogue websites.