Women are running the show at the venerable Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, from the CEO to the president to next year’s Oscar host, Ellen DeGeneres.
When Dawn Hudson took over the reins of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences from retiring Bruce Davis, her main rival for the position of CEO, Ric Robertson, stayed on as chief operating officer just in case she didn’t work out. He had hoped to be promoted to run the place that he had served for over thirty years.
Hudson’s first year was a tough one as she figured out who was who and tried to find her footing. Robertson served as her institutional memory. Many thought she wouldn’t make it. “Ric has been a wonderful friend and partner to me these last couple of years,” wrote Hudson in an internal memo. But things settled down after that and Hudson is now firmly in charge; she has made bold moves, partnering with LACMA’s Michael Govan on the Academy Museum, which is moving forward after years in limbo.
For one thing, while departing president Hawk Koch, Robertson and many of the men on the Board of Governors were lobbying for Summit Entertainment motion picture chief Rob Friedman to take over as AMPAS president after Koch’s one-year term, popular insider Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who had been working hard inside the Academy for decades, easily won the position. While Koch brought back producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to mount the 2014 Oscar telecast, Isaacs quickly nailed down the show’s next host: Ellen DeGeneres.
Robertson is stepping down to become a consultant after taking a three-month summer sabbatical–he actually needs to see out the terms of his three year contract. He will focus on the Oscar show and awards rules; his duties overseeing the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, Film Archive, marketing, public relations, legal affairs and the controversial new electronic-voting initiative will be absorbed by other staffers.
Robertson joined AMPAS in 1981 as assistant programmer and rose to exec administrator (1989-2011).