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Kathleen Kennedy Elected Chair of AFI Board of Trustees

Lucasfilm president succeeds Sir Howard Stringer

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has been elected Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, the American Film Institute announced Thursday.

Kennedy succeeds Sir Howard Stringer, who served in the role since 1999.

“More than 50 years ago, the AFI was created to advance and elevate the art of film, and it has been my privilege to uphold that mission for two decades,” said Stringer in a statement. “I pass the torch to Kathleen Kennedy with great confidence, for she is a visionary who has not only long served as an AFI Trustee, but will also lead the Institute into the future with her signature taste, talent and intellect.”

“It is a distinct honor to be elected as Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees,” responded Kennedy. “AFI’s commitment to the power of storytelling — coupled with its profound respect for the past — is an inspiration in our modern day, and I look forward to working with the Trustees and the incomparable Bob Daly with the goal to shine an even greater light upon the impact these stories have in our nation and around the world.”

Daly will continue to serve as chair of the AFI Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2009.

In her new role, Kennedy will set the institute’s priorities and guide its national education programs. She joined Lucasfilm in 2012 and was personally picked by founder George Lucas to lead the company. She has produced or executive produced nearly 100 films, including “Jurassic Park,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “The Sixth Sense,” and the most recent “Star Wars” entries, including the upcoming “Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker.” In 2018, the Academy bestowed upon her the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for her contributions to film.

The AFI Board of Trustees comprises a panel of leaders from the film and television communities. Studio heads Donna Langley and Anthony Vinciquerra are among its members, as are Eva Longoria, Edward James Olmos, Jada Pinkett Smith and more.

The AFI’s mission is to preserve the heritage of motion pictures, to honor artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. On the same night of the Kennedy announcement, actor Denzel Washington was awarded AFI’s Lifetime Achievement Award.