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Academy Governors Elect Hawk Koch as New AMPAS President

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 31, 2012 at 11:44PM

Good-bye to Tom Sherak, who leaves behind his unpaid job as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as he has served his full nine years as a Governor. And hello to a new AMPAS president as Tuesday night the Board of Governors elected veteran producer Hawk Koch ("Gorky Park," "Source Code") for his first term.
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Hawk Koch
Hawk Koch

Good-bye to Tom Sherak, who leaves behind his unpaid job as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as he has served his full nine years as a Governor.  And hello to a new AMPAS president as Tuesday night the Board of Governors elected veteran producer Hawk Koch ("Gorky Park," "Source Code") for his first one -year term. Hawk was able to gain more than 50% of the votes from somewhat less than the usual 43 members; the Academy has yet to replace screenwriter Frank Pierson, who died last week.

Koch, 66, who also heads the Producer Guild of America, lobbied hard for the job. But he has only one year left to serve as a governor representing the Producers Branch, after serving as first vice president of the Academy during the past year. He previously served three one-year terms as treasurer and one term as vice president. Koch is the son of veteran Hollywood producer Howard Koch, who also served as a president of the Academy; this is an industry father-son first. Koch, Jr. started out his career as a road manager for The Supremes and the Dave Clark Five.

Taking the first vice president slot is Public Relations Branch governor Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who was in the running for the presidency and is co-producing the Governors Ball this November.  Producers Branch governor Kathleen Kennedy, who is now helping George Lucas to run LucasFilm, will fill one vice president slot and Writers Branch governor Phil Robinson, who indicated to insiders that he was too busy to handle the president gig, was re-elected to the remaining vice president post. Public Relations Branch governor Rob Friedman, who runs Lionsgate motion pictures with Patrick Wachsberger, was elected treasurer. And Executives Branch governor Robert Rehme, who has been president in the past, was elected secretary.

Academy board members serve three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive terms in any one office.

Sherak leaves behind his legacy: since he took the Academy presidency in 2009, he and new Academy CEO Dawn Hudson have closed an agreement to keep the Academy Awards show on ABC through 2020; kept the Oscars in Hollywood at the renamed Dolby Theater for 20 more years; and pursued an Academy motion picture museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Sherak tussled with the issue of lectronic balloting, which is on the agenda for the next president. Sherak also oversaw the hiring of Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy to produce and host the 2012 Oscar show, respectively, which backfired; producer Brian Grazer and returning host Billy Crystal saved the day, with viewership up 4% and over 39 million people watching the show that Sunday.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.