Michael P. O’Leary will be appointed the president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners beginning May 1. He will officially join the NATO team on April 10 to work alongside current president and CEO John Fithian before the latter retires.
O’Leary, a resident of Washington D.C., with a law degree from the University of Arizona, has previously served in senior positions at The Entertainment Software Association, 21st Century Fox, the Motion Picture Association, on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Justice.
NATO board chairman and senior adviserr Rolando Rodriguez stated “Michael brings with him extensive knowledge and strategic senior leadership, having worked with and led teams within the broader entertainment industry both domestically and internationally. With the help and support of our very talented NATO team, as well as our friends at the film companies, artistic community and lawmakers, we will continue to grow back the motion picture theater industry with Michael’s leadership.”
O’Leary stated “The cinematic experience is an enduring and dynamic part of the entertainment landscape in communities everywhere. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work with the leaders of this iconic global industry and the talented and dedicated team at NATO to chart its next chapter.”
The CEO transition comes at a critical time with cinema attendance rebounding worldwide after the initial years of the COVID pandemic, partially thanks to a more regular release slate and more varied films in multiplex release closer to what was expected prior to 2020.
NATO’s leadership, as the largest global organization of movie theater owners with members representing more than 67,000 screens across the United States and around the world, advocates for the interests of theater owners and the moviegoers they serve. This includes Cinema Foundation and the Global Cinema Foundation, which O’Leary will join as a member of its Executive Committee.
Rodriguez continued, “Also on behalf of the NATO Executive Board we want to thank John Fithian for his tremendous contributions to the exhibition industry. His leadership, dedication, commitment, accomplishments and passion will long be remembered as he retires on May 1. Thank you, John, for a great legacy. And welcome, Michael, to our NATO family.”