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Academy Museum Chief Bill Kramer Is New Academy CEO

The Academy is turning to the executive who successfully launched the Academy Museum as its new CEO.

Director and President of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Bill Kramer and David Rubin attend The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening Gala at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Brian Feinzimer/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Bill Kramer and his husband, Peter Cipowski.

Sipa USA via AP

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unanimously voted today to name Bill Kramer, current Director and President of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, as its new CEO, replacing Dawn Hudson after 11 years. Kramer will assume his new role on July 18. Hudson will remain with the Academy as an advisor during the transition period.

Kramer, whose background is in fine arts and museum curation, will lead the vast Academy organization, overseeing global membership, the Oscars, education and emerging talent initiatives, the Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, and the Academy Museum.

After a long and arduous Museum launch, Kramer emerged as a White Knight, proving to be a decisive leader and efficient administrator. After prolonged construction as well as pandemic delays, Kramer successfully launched the Academy Museum in September 2021. The museum has proved a tourist attraction and sold more than 550,000 tickets in its first nine months of operation. Under Kramer’s direction, the museum developed five floors of exhibitions celebrating the arts and sciences of moviemaking.

In addition, Kramer and his museum team developed the Academy’s first permanent retail store, both in the museum and online, generating sales of more than $5.5 million to date. Under Kramer’s leadership, the museum launched the Academy’s first global publications imprint with a Hayao Miyazaki catalog, which is currently in its fourth print run, and with a Spike Lee book to be issued this month. Kramer’s programming team also developed the Academy’s robust screenings series.

Kramer oversaw the completion of the $388 million fundraising campaign that launched the museum project and established an ongoing $40 million annual operating revenue program that includes an annual gala, ticket sales, museum membership, and more.

Outgoing CEO Dawn Hudson, who recently accepted the Insignia of Officer of the order of Arts and Letters medal at Cannes, oversaw a decade of change at the Academy. She moved decisively to implement radical change in the largely white male Academy membership, bringing in a more diverse and younger membership from all over the world. She added three governors of color to the Board of Governors, which has also become a more diverse body under Hudson’s leadership.

She leaves the Museum as her legacy, after doggedly willing it into being with support from LACMA chief Michael Govan, ex-Disney chairman Bob Iger and others. But the road to the Museum was long, costly, and arduous. And the Academy’s swift approval of Kramer as its new CEO signals that the Museum is a key focus for AMPAS going forward, as the Oscars continue to diminish in cultural significance.

The Academy during Hudson’s tenor has tangled with gaffe-ridden shows, controversial Oscar hosts, declining ratings, and the most recent Will Smith slap moment, which garnered an unwelcome glare of publicity around how Hudson and president David Rubin handled the aftermath.

Clearly, Kramer represents a steady hand at the tiller.

During his earlier tenure as managing director of the Academy Museum, Kramer served as the chief planning, public relations, advancement, exhibitions, and government relations officer for the museum’s pre-construction phase, successfully leading the project’s fundraising campaign and managing the project’s public approvals process. Kramer also oversaw the production of the museum’s first exhibition, Hollywood Costume, which explored the central role that costume design plays in cinematic storytelling and featured more than 100 iconic movie costumes.

Prior to returning to the Academy Museum in 2019, Kramer served as vice president of development at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), one of America’s most institutionally and programmatically diverse arts institutions, where he led a 45-person team tasked with raising significant private and government funding, overseeing a visual art expansion program, and platforming BAM’s growing film program to an international audience.

Kramer has led capital and comprehensive campaigns for the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and has served in senior business and fundraising positions at the Sundance Institute, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Columbia University School of the Arts.

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