Tom Sherak elected Academy president

Tom Hanks chosen as 1st vp

Film exec Tom Sherak has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the organization's board of governors, who met Tuesday evening.

He begins his term of office immediately and succeeds outgoing president Sid Ganis, who has served four consecutive one-year terms, the maximum any Academy member can serve in one office.

Actors branch governor Tom Hanks was elected 1st vp; the producers branch's Kathleen Kennedy and Phil Robinson, of the writers branch, were elected to vp posts; producers branch governor Hawk Koch was elected treasurer; and John Lasseter, governor of the short films and feature animation branch, was elected secretary. Ganis, representing the public relations branch, will serve as immediate past president.

In his new role, Sherak will face challenges on several fronts. At the top of his list will be the job of choosing a producer to oversee the 82nd Academy Awards, set for March 7.

The Oscars represent the Academy's largest single source of income, and faced with declining ratings during recent years, Ganis shook up the show's formula last year by choosing Laurence Mark and Bill Condon to produce. The pair successfully worked changes into the proceedings, acknowledging more popular movies and bringing back more past Oscar winners, and the ratings rebounded by 13% compared with the previous year, momentum the Academy will want to maintain.

At the same time, Sherak has to see that a major change in Oscar tradition is folded into the ceremony.

In June, Academy governors voted to approve expanding the best picture category from five nominees to 10. The hope is a wider field will include more popular hits that will attract viewers to the broadcast; at the same time, the show's producers must find a way to acknowledge the extra nominees without significantly adding to the show's running time.

Facing an even more daunting task, Sherak will be tasked with taking over fundraising and planning for a new, $400 million museum the Academy hopes to build in Hollywood just south of the intersection of Sunset and Vine.

In 2007, the selected French architecture firm Atelier Christian de Portzamparc to design the project with hope of breaking ground this year. But plans were put on hold because of the recession, and the new president must find ways to jump-start the fundraising process.

The Academy president is elected from among the board of governors' 43 members. Sherak is beginning his seventh year as a governor of the executives branch and has served as the organization's treasurer during the past year.

He currently serves as a consultant for Marvel Studios and was previously a partner at Revolution Studios.

Before that, he served as chairman of the 20th Century Fox Domestic Film Group. During his long tenure at Fox, Sherak held posts in which he oversaw marketing and distribution as well as production. He began his career in the film industry at Paramount Pictures in 1970.

Sherak has also been an active board member and fundraiser for such causes as the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society, Fulfillment Fund of Southern California, Southern California Variety -- the Children's Charity, and the Will Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.

Board of Governors 2009-10

Dede Allen (Film Editors Branch); Craig Barron (Visual Effects); Curt Behlmer (Sound); Carl Bell (Short Films and Feature Animation); Annette Bening (Actors ;); James D. Bissell (Art Directors); Rosemary Brandenburg (Art Directors); James L. Brooks (Writers); Bruce Broughton (Music); Donn Cambern (Film Editors); Martha Coolidge (Directors); Caleb Deschanel (Cinematographers); Richard Edlund (Visual Effects); Leonard Engelman (Makeup Artists & Hairstylists); Rob Epstein (Documentary); Charles Fox (Music); Robert G. Friedman (Public Relations); Sid Ganis (Public Relations); Jim Gianopulos (Executives); Mark Goldblatt (Film Editors); Don Hall (Sound); Arthur Hamilton (Music); Tom Hanks (Actors); Curtis Hanson (Directors); Mark Johnson (Producers); Kathleen Kennedy (Producers); Hawk Koch (Producers); Bill Kroyer (Short Films and Feature Animation); Jeffrey Kurland (Art Directors); John Lasseter (Short Films and Feature Animation); Marvin Levy (Public Relations); Lynne Littman (Documentary); Kevin O'Connell (Sound); Richard Pearce (Documentary); Frank Pierson (Writers); Robert Rehme (Executives); Phil Robinson (Writers); Owen Roizman (Cinematographers); Tom Sherak (Executives); Bill Taylor (Visual Effects); Henry Winkler (Actors); Vilmos Zsigmond (Cinematographers); Edward Zwick (Directors).