More MPTF Fallout: Seth Ellis Stepping Down as VP/COO (Exclusive)

Ellis' role in trying to shutter the nonprofit's long-term care faciity made him a lightning rod for criticism

Updated 4:15 p.m. PST

Seth Ellis, vice president and chief operating officer of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, is stepping down from his position, a spokeswoman for the non-profit confirmed to TheWrap.

The MPTF's staff was told in a memo that Friday will be his last day.

Ellis has been unpopular with some residents of the MPTF's hospital and their families for his role in trying to close down the money-losing facility. Yet he managed to survive a management overhaul that saw his boss Dr. David Tillman, the president and CEO of the MPTF’s hospital, pushed out in February 2010 and replaced by Bob Beitcher.

Also read: Victory at the MPTF: A True Hollywood David and Goliath Story

Beitcher confirmed through a spokeswoman that Ellis announced his resignation to the board and staff Wednesday.

"In his statement, Ellis indicated that he felt that it was in the best interest of the organization that he step down at this time," Beitcher said in a statement. 

Beitcher, a former CEO of Panavision, has been credited as being more open and accessible to residents than the previous leadership. His demeanor combined with a decision to keep the hospital and long-term care facility open and accepting new patients has lifted spirits at the Woodland Hills campus.

Tillman and Ellis arrived together at the fund in 2000. In January 2009, with the hospital and long-term care service losing a reported $10 million annually, Tillman informed families and patients that the facilities would have to be shut down, and residents would have to be relocated. That set off an often fierce standoff between the MPTF's administration and Saving the Lives of Our Own, a grassroots organization that formed to protest the closure.

The months of protest were a public relations fiasco for the MPTF, forcing it to back down on its plans in February 2010, when it announced that it would keep the facilities open and begin looking for a healthcare provider to help shoulder the costs. It still has not announced a partner, but this winter it opened its doors to new patients for the first time in roughly three years.

Last October, Ellis angered some of in the MPTF community and members of Saving the Lives of Our Own when he offered a testimonial on behalf of Tillman.

In a press release announcing that Tillman had been hired as chief medical officer at Partners in Care Foundation, Ellis was quoted as saying, "Having Dr. Tillman join us at this point in our evolution, signals the dynamic growth and expansion opportunities Partners is experiencing."

Ellis is a member of Partners' board.

In addition to its hospital and long-term care facility, the MPTF provides healthcare services and retirement housing for members of the motion picture and television industry with limited resources.