Hawk Koch was named president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences replacing Tom Sherak.
Koch, 66, is currently the co-president of the Producers Guild of America and has been a member of the academy’s board of governors for eight years. Koch’s father Howard was the academy president in the 70’s.
He was recently executive producer on SOURCE CODE. Koch will only serve one year because presidents must be chosen from among the board of governors and in 2013 he will run up against the nine-year term limit for board members.
LA TIMES-Though the post of president is unpaid, it carries significant prestige. The president is often the face of the organization responsible for the annual Oscar telecast. Among the first tasks facing Koch will be choosing a producer for the 2013 Academy Awards. The position is never easy to fill, considering few elite producers want to give up six months of their career to take on the full-time job, which is often heavily scrutinized in the media.
Koch will also be charged with ensuring that the efforts underway to create a film museum on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art continue successfully.
The president’s primary role is to make sure that the chief executive, Dawn Hudson, and her staff are following the lead of the board. Although the position used to be mainly symbolic, under the tenure of Sherak, and his predecessor, Sid Ganis, the job has become much more active.
Both Sherak and Ganis were integral in rejiggering the best picture Oscar contest. (Ganis led the expansion of contenders from five to 10, a shift that was intended to broaden the viewership for the show; under Sherak, the rules were adjusted so that a variable number of films, anywhere between five and 10, can be nominated, depending on how the approximately 5,700 voters cast their ballots.)
Observers both inside and outside the academy will be watching to see whether Koch wants to make further changes to Hollywood’s biggest night, an evening important to both the academy’s reputation and financial standing, as the licensing fees pay for the majority of the organization’s annual expenses.