PricewaterhouseCoopers has appointed Martha L. Ruiz as a co-leader of Oscar balloting in the 81st year that PwC has overseen the process.

    She becomes one of two people who will know the identities of Oscar winners before they are revealed Feb. 22.The other is Brian Cullinan, chairman of PwC’s U.S. board and managing partner of PwC’s Southern California, Arizona & Nevada market.

    Ruiz, an 18-year PwC veteran and tax partner in PwC’s entertainment, media and communications practice, replaces longtime co-leader Rick Rosas. “PwC’s role in the Oscars balloting process represents the firm’s lasting legacy of utmost accuracy and confidentiality,” said Ruiz in a statement. “It’s an honor to join this esteemed group.”

    PwC oversees all aspects of the voting process, maintaining sole custody of all votes and tabulations, and ultimately delivering two briefcases to the ceremony, each with a full set of envelopes containing all the winners. The briefcases are brought to the Oscars by the two co-leaders; each takes a separate, secret route to arrive backstage, where the envelopes are distributed to award presenters before they walk onstage.

    Oscar final balloting runs Feb. 6-17.