Chris Dodd, Ex-Senator, Named MPAA Chairman

The moguls have finally chosen the new chief of the Motion Picture Association of America. It is outgoing Senator Christopher Dodd.

The moguls have finally chosen the new chief of the Motion Picture Association of America.

It is former Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, named Chairman and CEO on Tuesday.

"I am truly excited about representing the interests of one of the most creative and productive industries in America, not only in Washington but around the world,” Dodd said in a statement.  

Dodd, 66, will replace interim head Bob Pisano. 

The MPAA had been seeking to replace former chair Dan Glickman for over a year. An earlier courtship with Bob Kerrey ended in frustration last summer, after the former Nebraska senator ultimately turned down the $1.3 million a year position. 

The MPAA had been seeking someone who combined deep Washington ties with charisma; something the more mild mannered Glickman was seen as lacking. Glickman, a longtime congressman, was Agriculture Secretary under Bill Clinton.

In Dodd, the moguls have a landed a star to be their top lobbyist — one with three decades at the height of the political ladder. 

Dodd  is less of a centrist than Kerrey, but like his good friend the late Ted Kennedy, the silver haired senator was considered a liberal power broker in Washington. 

Yet his political career ended on something of a sour note. Dodd opted not to seek re-election in 2010 after a scandal over a controversial loan from Countrywide Financial depleted his poll numbers. 

The Senate Ethics Committee cleared Dodd of wrongdoing after a yearlong investigation examined whether mortgages the senator received fro Countrywide Financial violated the Senate's rules on gifts.

Dodd, a Democrat, represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 2011. He ran for president in 2008, but stepped out of the race after placing seventh in the Iowa Caucuses. 

He was Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and authored the recent Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He was also chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1995 to 1997. 

“Senator Dodd is a battle-tested leader whose reputation as a strong leader on major issues facing this country has prepared him to serve as the Ambassador for the movie business. I, along with my colleagues, agree that he was worth the wait,” Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jim Gianopulos said in a statement. 

Dodd is not known to have a close association with the entertainment industry, though he is a friend of "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels and dated Carrie Fisher.

He has also been uite friendly with such players as Universal Studios President Ron Meyer, HBO Co-President Richard Plepler, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty.

His biggest industry exposure, though, may have been a cameo in the 1993 comedy “Dave."

 

Here is the full announcement:

 

MPAA APPOINTS SENATOR CHRISTOPHER J. DODD

AS CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

WASHINGTON — The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today announced it has named former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd as its new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Senator Dodd, who completed five terms in the United States Senate in January, will assume his new role on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day).

“Senator Dodd is a battle-tested leader whose reputation as a strong leader on major issues facing this country has prepared him to serve as the Ambassador for the movie business. I, along with my colleagues, agree that he was worth the wait,” said Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jim Gianopulos. He added, “We’re also grateful to Bob Pisano, who has done an excellent job of leading the MPAA during this transition period.”

Senator Dodd, a Democrat, represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 2011, where he was Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and the author of the historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dodd also served as Acting-Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee during the 2009 consideration of the Health Care Reform Act. He also was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He has been widely respected as an effective lawmaker able to successfully reach across party lines.

“The major motion picture studios consistently produce and distribute the most sought after and enjoyable entertainment on earth.  Protecting this great American export will be my highest priority.”

“In several important ways, taking this step represents a continuation of my work in the Senate, from advancing the interests of children and families and creating and safeguarding American jobs to the protection of intellectual property and the expansion of international trade,” said Senator Dodd.

"It is also an honor to follow in the footsteps of Jack Valenti and Dan Glickman, both of whom I worked with on many occasions over the years.  I look forward to working with the studios, the Association staff and all who work in our industry on the major issues facing it during this time of economic and technological challenge and global growth.”

“We conducted a thorough search to identify the very best individual to lead the MPAA," said Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Lynton. "We're convinced we have found that person in Chris Dodd.  He is uniquely qualified to represent and protect our industry globally."

“Chris Dodd not only has the political instincts and experience, but he’s the right person to lead the film industry through its toughest challenges regarding content protection and piracy on a domestic and global scale,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Warner Bros. 

Alan Braverman, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel at the Walt Disney Company and MPAA Search Committee Member added, “This is a critical time for the motion picture industry and we couldn’t be more pleased that Chris Dodd is leading our team.  His vast experience in consensus-building and innovative approaches to resolving complex issues make him the ideal choice to lead this organization.”

Born in Willimantic, Connecticut, Senator Dodd attended Providence College, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, and then received his law degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 1972.  He served in the Connecticut National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves and practiced law in Connecticut before being elected to Congress in 1974.  He also served as the General Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the re-election campaign of President William J. Clinton in 1995-1996.  Senator Dodd and his wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, have two daughters, Grace and Christina.