Bruce Davis, who has worked at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 30 years and served as executive director for more than 20, will retire at the end of the current fiscal year, the Academy and Davis have confirmed.
Davis has been the highest-ranking salaried employee at AMPAS for all of the 1990s and 2000s. He announced his decision at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Academy’s board of governors and subsequently sent an email to Academy staff that read, in part, “Organizations and individuals both benefit from periodic shifts in perspective.”
Davis will not leave his position until June 30, 2011. The board will begin looking for successor shortly.
As executive director, Davis has been at the forefront of all Academy ventures. He spearheaded the huge buildup in the Academy endowment in the 1980s, which funded (and continues to finance) the Academy library, and oversaw the move of the Academy Awards from Monday to Sunday, and from a variety of venues to the Kodak Theater.
He was also involved in planning and pushing for the Academy museum proposed for a site on Vine Street in Hollywood adjacent to AMPAS’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. At the moment, funding problems have stalled that ambitious project.
When Tom Sherak assumed the office of Academy president in the summer of 2009, he told theWrap’s Sharon Waxman that “the buck stops” not with the president, but with Davis. “It’s best for executive directors to deflect such comments whenever possible,” Davis told theWrap.
Davis also admitted in that interview that the organization he’d helped build was at something of a crisis point. “Clearly, it’s tricky when an organization has essentially one source of income, which happens on one day a year,” he said, “And in recent years we’ve been threatened both by world political situations and by the Guild negotiations … So yeah, we need to be feeling our way very carefully to see if there’s still a way to run an operation this complex and this worthwhile in a new kind of environment."
NOTE: The original version of this story stated that Davis was resigning from his position. He says that he is in fact retiring, not resigning.
(Photo by Todd Wawrychuk/AMPAS)