Search for new MPAA chief under way

Pisano, Schwarzenegger among potential candidates

As the MPAA continues its search for a new chairman and CEO, Bob Pisano, one of the likely internal candidates for the position, is taking the top post on an interim basis.

The move for Pisano, who has served as president and COO of the Hollywood lobby group since 2005, was announced Friday as MPAA head Dan Glickman said he will step down April 1 to become president of Refugees International.

Before joining the MPAA, Pisano served as national executive director and CEO of SAG and held executive posts at MGM and Paramount.

It's not clear when the search for a new MPAA head will yield a shortlist of candidates. The agency's board earlier hired executive search firm Korn/Ferry International to run the process. On Friday, the MPAA only said it is continuing the search for a new, permanent head.

Another possible contender, Harold Ford Jr., is seen as having lost some of the early luster ascribed to him late last year when Glickman made public his plans to not renew his contract.

Ford, a contributor on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and former Congressman from Tennessee, has expressed interest in running for a Senate seat in New York as a Democrat.

Beyond Pisano and Ford, names that have been bandied about as potential candidates for the MPAA leadership include California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Universal Music lobbyist Matt Gerson, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., MPAA federal affairs guru Michael O'Leary and Disney lobbyist Richard Bates.

Glickman's new role will have him overseeing an advocacy organization on refugee crises around the world. While he had repeated run-ins with the heads of the MPAA member studios, Glickman thanked the studio bosses he has worked with since taking over the group in 2004 as the successor to Jack Valenti.

"For me, perhaps the best thing about the job was the movies," Glickman said. "I love movies. And as far as I am concerned, we make the best movies in the world."