Marking the end of her first year as the film academy’s CEO, Dawn Hudson sat down for a lengthy conversation with me for the pages of the weekly edition of Variety.
In the chat, she addresses the many challenges facing the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, including but by no means limited to the Oscars, and also talks about her position within those ongoing tasks.
Here’s an excerpt:
… JW: Several stories a year ago were that you were brought in to shake up the Academy. How accurate was that presumption, and to what extent has it come true?
DH: I never saw myself as brought in to shake up the Academy. Bruce was retiring, and there was a thought that if maybe we brought in a new set of eyes and paired me with a great COO in Ric Robertson, that the two of us could have complementary skills to move this organization forward in some key areas that hadn’t been dug into in many years. It was a great organization, but some of the structure had been in place since we were a 50-person staff, and now we’re a 270-person staff. What Ric and I found, when we started working together and talking to the staff, is that there’s a real hunger for more communication and collaboration across departments. (But) modernizing our business practices, updating our organizational structure and encouraging collaboration and communication isn’t exactly “shakeup.” That’s a little journalistic sensationalism to me. I would say evolution, not revolution.
JW: What has been the biggest learning experience for you?
DH: How you can never communicate too much. That’s all — I could never communicate too much. …