9:43am PT by Scott Feinberg
BAFTA New York Chief Stepping Down (Exclusive)
Christina Thomas, a founding member of the New York branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts who has served in its leadership for the past two decades, helping to grow its membership to more than 800 people and introducing a variety of educational and philanthropic programs for its members, will step down from her current role of chief executive on July 1, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Thomas, who has been BAFTA New York's chief executive since 2007, and previously served as its first chairman from 1996 through 2006, will stay on in the newly created position of development consultant, in which she will be responsible "for expanding the nonprofit's funding resources by overseeing and implementing new approaches to fundraising that will increase revenues," BAFTA said in a statement.
"I have enjoyed serving as chief executive and I am particularly gratified to have played a role in raising awareness of BAFTA New York and contributing to the shared goals of BAFTA worldwide," Thomas said. "I feel that now is the right time to hand over the reins to a new generation to continue to build the organization in New York. Development is an area that I have always enjoyed, and now I will be able to devote all my time to this endeavor while supporting the organization's mission and helping it grow even more."
Charles Tremayne, chairman of BAFTA New York, added, "Christina has been at the heart of BAFTA New York since it started. With her guidance the organization has grown from a small body of passionate individuals to one which helps position BAFTA as a leading advocate for the best in film and television in the U.S. This year we are on target to break our record and present over 80 screenings for our members, as well as numerous other professional events, while awarding more scholarships than ever before and attracting the highest membership in our history."
Prior to her association with BAFTA New York, Thomas was president of the U.S. subsidiary of Primetime Entertainment, a leading U.K. independent program, packaging and distribution company representing over 150 independent producers and 8,000 hours of programming. She also was senior vp at Producers Group International and founded Jigsaw Communications, a global finance and independent film distribution consulting agency.
The search for Thomas' replacement will begin in February. Internal candidates might include Luke Parker Bowles, the organization's youthful vice chairman, who helped to raise its profile by introducing "In Conversation," a series of long-form Q&As with British filmmakers that are open only to BAFTA New York members. (Guests have included Benedict Cumberbatch and Hugh Dancy — whose visits were moderated by yours truly — as well as Eddie Redmayne.)