Tom Sherak on Replacing Bruce Davis: We Started Looking 2 Weeks Ago

Academy president: “It’s going to be a bump, but somebody else will come in and fill those shoes”

The search has already begun to replace the man he calls the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s “CEO,” Academy president Tom Sherak told theWrap on Wednesday afternoon.

On the heels of the news that AMPAS executive director Bruce Davis would retire at the end of the fiscal year in June, 2011, Sherak said that the process of looking for a replacement began about two weeks ago, and will include candidates both inside and outside the Academy.

Bruce Davis and Tom Sherak“This is a big position to fill, obviously,” said Sherak. “This is a person who’s running a prestigious organization responsible for moving the arts and sciences of motion pictures forward. He’s a major part of what we do, whether you think we’re on the right track or not.”

(Photo of Davis, left, and Sherak by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Sherak is currently serving his second one-year term as Academy president. Davis has worked at the Academy for 30 years, and served as executive director since 1989.

“Bruce runs the place,” said Sherak. “The executive director is in charge of 200 people in five locations around the world. I call him the CEO, and he always laughs at me when I say that. He says, ‘Tom, I’m just the executive director.’ And I say, ‘No, Bruce, you’re the CEO.’”

Sherak said he would like to have a replacement in the wings by next March 1 – but, he added, “I learned a long time ago that you set a deadline, and then you extend it.

“But my hope is to have somebody in there in the first quarter of next year. You want the person to spend time with Bruce, particularly if it’s somebody coming from outside the organization.”

Working in Hollywood, though, Sherak said that he’s learned that nobody is irreplaceable.   

“The Academy is going to miss Bruce, but it’s like anything else in the world – it’s going to be a bump, and somebody else will come in and fill those shoes,” he said.

“I mean, I went through nine bosses in 19 years at Fox. It’s a bump. I remember the New York Times calling me when Barry Diller left Fox, saying, ‘What are you going to do?’ I said then, ‘We’re going to miss him, but the company will go on.’ And it’s the same thing with the Academy. We're going to miss Bruce, he’s going to leave, and we’ll keep on going.”