Academy Renews Dawn Hudson’s Contract as CEO

Dawn Hudson has reupped as Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences CEO, with the board of governors approving the three-year contract renewal at its Tuesday meeting.

She was named to the post in April 2011 and began work three months later. The renewal was expected (Variety, April 2).

When AMPAS executive director Bruce Davis retired after 30 years there, the board wanted to shake things up. The hiring of Hudson as CEO was a signal that the Academy, which was closely tied with the studios, wanted to strengthen its indie ties, since she was at Film Independent. Davis’ duties were split between CEO Hudson and COO Ric Robertson, who had been there since 1981. Last Fall, Robertson stepped down from that role in what was described as an amicable split, and he continues to consult for the Academy.

Hudson’s early tenure was rocky, as she ruffled feathers at the staid Hollywood institution. Her defenders have always said that she is fulfilling her mandate to shake things up, rethink and update the Academy, in terms of its staffing, priorities and relationships with filmmakers.

In the last two years, she still has some critics. But the ratings for the Oscar show (which represents the bulk of the org’s income) have been strong, and after years of hurdles, the Academy Museum is on schedule for groundbreaking this year with a 2017 opening targeted. In addition, she has worked with Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify membership and broadening the white/over-60/male demographic of the 6,000 members. The two, along with other key Academy execs, have also worked on outreach programs and cultural exchanges with filmmakers and film orgs around the globe.


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