Hollywood Foreign Press Association Votes for Change, Elects Theo Kingma President

After two presidents in their 70s and 80s, the embattled HFPA chooses a 46-year-old photojournalist determined to alter the image of the organization

Dutch photojournalist Theo Kingma has been elected president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The news was first reported by TheWrap on Monday evening, and confirmed by the HFPA on Tuesday morning.

In the election held late Monday afternoon, Kingma defeated Russian journalist Ali Sar, the other candidate for the position. One HFPA member told TheWrap that the vote was 44-33, giving Kingma a much larger margin of victory than his predecessor, Aida Takla-O'Reilly.

The organization has 85 voting members and three non-voting "lifetime members."

While both Kingma and Sar were seen as potential agents of change in the controversial organization, Sar had the support of the old guard that has run the HFPA in recent years, while the 46-year-old Kingma was seen as a more aggressive advocate for a new approach.

He succeeds Takla-O’Reilly and Philip Berk, both of whom were over 70 when they assumed the role of president, and both of whom presided over a stormy period in which the HFPA was embroiled in legal disputes with its former publicist and with Dick Clark Productions. The organization spent more than $3.6 million in attorney’s fees in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, according to a filing with the IRS.

Kingma sat on the HFPA's board of directors for four years, and also served as executive secretary for two. He has been described as an outgoing personality who is also determined to change the organization's image as a group of part-time journalists with little credibility beyond that bestowed by their lucrative television show, the Golden Globes.

Also in Monday's election, Lorenzo Soria was elected vice president, Lilly Lui won the position of executive secretary and Meher Tatna was elected treasurer. By HFPA custom, the outgoing president moves to the board of directors, where Takla-O'Reilly will be joined by Yoram Kahana (Chairman), Vera Anderson, Luca Celada and Helen Hoehne.