Toronto Film Festival COO Michele Maheux to Step Down

Michelle Maheux - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of TIFF

The 30-year veteran prepares to exit the festival after director and CEO Piers Handling announced his retirement.

Michele Maheux, the longtime executive director and COO of the Toronto Film Festival, is set to retire after the upcoming 43rd edition in September.

Maheux, a 30-year veteran with TIFF, made the announcement on Friday. She will give up her roles as executive director and COO on Nov. 1, 2018, before helping the festival's board of directors with a management transition through summer 2019. That includes the TIFF board splitting power at the top as longtime CEO Piers Handling gets set to leave his posts as director and CEO after the 2018 edition of the festival next month.

As part of that transition, TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey earlier added co-head to his duties at the film festival. Maheux stepping down allows the board to name and bring in a new executive director and co-head to serve alongside Bailey before the 43rd edition gets underway on Sept. 6.

As executive director and COO, Maheux oversees the business and operations at TIFF and was key to getting the festival's Bell Lightbox headquarters financed and built. Working closely with Handling, Maheux also helped turn an annual September festival into a must-attend for Hollywood movie talent and executives looking to launch award-season contenders.

"I’m excited for the future of TIFF and the new team at the top,” said Maheux in a statement. "The organization is on a great path with a new five-year strategic plan and a team passionate about the mission and vision. I am honored to play a role in the organization’s upcoming transition," she added.

The Toronto Film Festival is set to run from Sept. 6-16.