The Motion Picture Association of America has appointed veteran public relations executive Emily Lenzner as its executive VP of global communications and public affairs.

She will report to Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin and oversee the trade group’s communications team in the U.S. and internationally. Lenzner will start Aug. 1 and be based at the MPAA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

She succeeds Matt Bennett, who was recently named VP and Chief Communications Officer at American University. Lenzner headed communications for Atlantic Media and was a managing director for public affairs at SKDKnickerbocker and the executive director of communications for ABC News in Washington. She managed PR for “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and “Nightline.” Early in her career, Lenzner worked in film production and development for Diane Keaton’s production company and was a local news producer in Seattle after serving in the Clinton White House as an assistant to then senior advisor George Stephanopoulos.

“Emily is one of the leading communications strategists in the media industry,” Rivkin said. “Her expertise in managing global, highly visible brands while navigating some of our industry’s biggest challenges will be invaluable not only to the MPAA but for each of our member studios. I am confident that her strong leadership skills and strategic communications experience will only enhance our ability to shape public policy debates around the world in support of our advocacy goals.”

The MPAA noted that Lenzner’s appointment comes at a time of evolution for the MPAA and its member companies and said that with the addition of Netflix as a member studio this year – joining Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros. – the MPAA is better positioned to advance the creative industry, protect its members’ content, defend the creative and artistic freedoms of storytellers, and support “innovative” distribution models that bring an expansion of viewing choices to audiences around the world.

“I am excited to join the MPAA during such a dynamic and pivotal time for the film and television industry,” said Lenzner. “I look forward to working with our members in our effort to advance the business and art of storytelling.”