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MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Makes Top Level Appointments

Michael O’Leary has been promoted to senior exec VP, global policy and external affairs; Laura Nichols named exec VP, global communications

Under new Chairman Christopher Dodd, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is filling out its leadership team.

Michael O’Leary has been promoted to senior executive VP, global policy and external affairs and Laura Nichols has been named executive VP, global communications. Dodd also tapped an old staffer from his U.S. Senate days, Lori McGrogan, to be senior advisor to the chairman.

“I am proud to announce this team of tremendously accomplished individuals, Dodd said. “The creative community’s voice in Washington will be critical in the months and years ahead as our leaders debate what will be the best, most cost-effective ways to produce new jobs and protect the ones we have. We’ve assembled a senior team, who, together with our dedicated MPAA global staff, will set our sights on delivering a clear and simple message: when it comes to growing our economy, creating jobs, promoting trade and American innovation, movies matter."

Dodd took over the helm at the MPAA last spring. He has made opening foreign markets in countries such as China a key priority of his tenure — an effort that his new appointments will presumably play key roles in advancing. 

O’Leary will supervise all international, federal and state affairs operations around the world for Hollywood's top lobbying arm. In addition, he will oversee the association’s technology and research efforts.

Previously, O’Leary had been the MPAA's executive VP, government affairs. Before coming to work for the MPAA, O’Leary served as deputy chief for intellectual property in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice.

Nichols will oversee all international and domestic communications, media relations, new media development and special events. She previously served as senior fellow and SVP for communications and strategies at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington, DC think tank.

McGrogan is an ex-Dodd staffer, having served as the former senator's acting chief of staff. In her new capacity, she will serve as senior advisor to the chairman and will assist Dodd in strategic and long-term planning, as well as day-to-day operations of the organization.