• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

Bob Pisano Steps Down as MPAA President and COO

Bob Pisano
Neilson Barnard/Getty Image

He will act as an adviser after his official departure.

Hollywood veteran Bob Pisano stepped down Monday as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Pisano's decision to depart comes three months after the arrival of former Senator Chris Dodd, who was named CEO and Chairman of the MPAA in March. Pisano had served as the interim CEO from January 2010 until Dodd got the job.

Pisano says in an email to the MPAA staff that this was his decision, in part because he is tired of commuting between his home in California and Washington, D.C., and that he wants to spend more time with his family. Pisano also says that Dodd has asked him to continue to act as an adviser after his official departure.

"During his tenure at the MPAA," says Dodd in a statement, "Bob has been a strong leader of the organization and a powerful voice for the motion picture industry. He has helped guide the MPAA's worldwide operations at a time of extraordinary technological change and in the face of growing threats to our members' intellectual property that has been enabled by that change.

"Bob's extensive ties to the entertainment community, both as a leading studio executive and as the leader of Hollywood's largest labor union, have helped him forge new industry partnerships and have raised the profile of the MPAA's programs both in the United States and abroad."

While there was anticipation Pisano might leave, it was not a given. Dodd was asked when he was hired about Pisano, but at the time said it was too early to make any decisions about the existing staff.

Some saw a role for Pisano since he has strong ties to Hollywood and a deep understanding of how the industry works, while Dodd is essentially an outsider who has to learn the business on the job.

Now Dodd seems to have decided he can deal with whatever connections the MPAA needs to the industry with help from the organization's staff.

Pisano leaves with a long list of accomplishments while at the MPAA. He has provided strong leadership on the piracy issue at a time the Obama administration has stepped up to protect intellectual property. Pisano was also an outspoken opponent of a plan to create a futures market around movies, which was killed before it could be launched with the inclusion of an amendment to the banking bill last year which made it essentially illegal.

Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Studio, said, "Bob is a thoughtful, strategic leader and a great friend. Under his guidance, the MPAA made great strides in advancing issues important to the studios and the industry as a whole. His day-to-day leadership will be missed, but luckily we'll still be able to call upon his expertise in his role as an advisor. I wish him well in this new chapter in his life."

"Bob has been a friend, a colleague, and a guiding force in our industry for over 25 years. He's made a tremendous contribution in his role at the MPAA, as he has throughout his career. I'm pleased that we will continue to have his insights in his new capacity," said Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment.

Before the MPAA, Pisano was national executive director and Chief Executive Officer of SAG for four years. Between 1993 and 1999 he was executive vice president, then as vice chairman and member of the board of directors at MGM. Before that he was executive vice president and general counsel in the Office of the Chairman at Paramount Pictures.

Pisano started his industry career practicing law in the Los Angeles and Paris offices of O'Melveny & Myers.

Bob Pisano today announced that he is stepping down as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), effective September 30. Pisano has held the position since 2005, and served as interim CEO from January 2010 through March 2011, when Senator Chris Dodd was named CEO and Chairman.

Commenting on Pisano's decision, Senator Dodd said, "During his tenure at the MPAA, Bob has been a strong leader of the organization and a powerful voice for the motion picture industry. He has helped guide the MPAA's worldwide operations at a time of extraordinary technological change and in the face of growing threats to our members' intellectual property that has been enabled by that change.

"Bob's extensive ties to the entertainment community, both as a leading studio executive and as the leader of Hollywood's largest labor union, have helped him forge new industry partnerships and have raised the profile of the MPAA's programs both in the United States and abroad."

In an e-mail to the MPAA staff announcing his decision, Pisano said, "During the time I've worked at MPAA, I've been essentially a transcontinental commuter. Since the beginning of last year, alone, I've made 25 trips to our DC headquarters. Though I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to help lead the organization, I'm also increasingly conscious of the fact that I've reached that moment in life when quality time with one's family is an increasingly precious gift...I am delighted that Chris has asked me to act as an advisor after my official departure date, and I have told him I'm willing to help in any way that I can."

Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Studio, said, "Bob is a thoughtful, strategic leader and a great friend. Under his guidance, the MPAA made great strides in advancing issues important to the studios and the industry as a whole. His day-to-day leadership will be missed, but luckily we'll still be able to call upon his expertise in his role as an advisor. I wish him well in this new chapter in his life."

"Bob has been a friend, a colleague, and a guiding force in our industry for over 25 years. He's made a tremendous contribution in his role at the MPAA, as he has throughout his career. I'm pleased that we will continue to have his insights in his new capacity," said Jim Gianopulos, Co-Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment.

Prior to joining the MPAA, Pisano served for four years as National Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Between 1993 and 1999 he served as Executive Vice President, then as Vice Chairman and member of the Board of Directors at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). During the six years preceding his work at MGM, Bob was Executive Vice President and General Counsel in the Office of the Chairman at Paramount Pictures.

Before embarking on his career in the motion picture industry, Bob practiced law in the Los Angeles and Paris offices of O'Melveny & Myers.