DGA Executive Director Jay D. Roth to Retire

After 22 years in role at the Directors Guild of America, Roth will step down this spring

Jay D. Roth is retiring as national executive director of the Directors Guild of America.

Roth will step down later this spring and then become a senior adviser to the guild, DGA president Paris Barclay announced on Wednesday. A succession plan will be announced in February 2017 following the next DGA National Board meeting.

Roth has served as DGA National Executive Director since 1995. In the decade prior, he was the DGA’s long-serving outside general counsel, successfully representing the guild in labor, copyright and international matters.

As National Executive Director, Roth led eight successful rounds of negotiations addressing head-on the industry’s changing production, distribution and exhibition models fueled by the digital age.

DGA membership grew 65 percent during Roth’s tenure, as did its staffing; and annual residuals payments to DGA members increased 300 percent to nearly $400 million.

“Jay’s entire professional career has been dedicated to representing people and helping to make their lives better — early on as a civil rights and labor lawyer, and for more than three decades, as an essential part of the DGA’s life as its greatest adviser, defender and coach,” Barclay said in a statement.

“Over a year ago, Jay began a conversation with the Guild about a plan to retire from his role as National Executive Director. At the request of our National Board, he agreed to continue in his position through the negotiations of our recently announced contract — a decision for which we honor Jay, and which reflects his genuine, unwavering dedication and loyalty to the DGA and its members,” he added.

DGA secretary-treasurer and past president Michael Apted, added”Jay is one of those rare individuals who sees the forest and the trees — in 3D — recognizing how to bring every puzzle piece together in service of a greater vision.”

“The DGA has been, and continues to be, a tremendous part of my life,” said Roth in the DGA’s Wednesday announcement. “I’m proud of what we’ve all accomplished together to build the Guild and advance our mission of protecting the creative and economic rights of our members — every single new contract, compensation increase, residual, creative right and expansion of jurisdiction that has allowed our members the freedom and security to create the best motion pictures in the world.”

At the DGA Awards on February 4, Roth will be the recipient of the DGA Presidents Award for his leadership and extraordinary efforts in enhancing the welfare and image of the Guild and the industry. The award is bestowed only by a unanimous vote of the sitting and former DGA Presidents.

Roth is only the fourth recipient of the DGA Presidents Award, first given in 1998 to former DGA President George Sidney, and then in 2001 and 2005 to former Presidents Robert Wise and Gil Cates. In 2008, the DGA recognized him with the DGA Honorary Life Member Award.