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Cheryl Boone Isaacs is elected Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first African-American to become the Academy president and the third woman. Cheryl Boone Isaacs is a longtime marketing and publicity executive.

By Steve PondReuters / August 1, 2013

Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected the new president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP


Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy's Board of Governors announced on Tuesday night.

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The election, which took place at the Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, makes Isaacs only the third woman to become AMPAS president in the organization's 86-year history, and the first African-American to hold the position. Hers is a notable achievement in an organization that in recent years has come under fire for being predominantly white and male.

She is also the first Academy president whose election was announced by AMPAS on Twitter while the governors were still voting on other offices.

Isaacs is one of a record total of 14 women on the 48-member AMPAS board, and its only African-American.

A longtime marketing and publicity executive who represents the Academy's Public Relations Branch, Isaacs, 63, has consulted on recent Best Picture winners "The Artist" and "The King's Speech" as the head of CBI Enterprises. She has also served as president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema and as executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount. Her earlier publicity campaigns include Oscar winners "Forrest Gump" and "Braveheart."

Last year, Isaacs and her fellow Public Relations Branch governor Rob Friedman were the only two governors to also receive votes in the balloting that elected Hawk Koch AMPAS president. She was elected the organization's first vice president that night, and later produced the Academy's 2012 Governors Awards.

Over the years, she has filled every position on the board: secretary, treasurer, vice president, first vice president and now president. 

Isaacs and Friedman were considered the two frontrunners for the position, which went to the first candidate to receive more than 50 percent of the votes from the Academy's 48 governors, 10 of whom were elected to the board for the first time last month. (Only governors who attended were eligible to vote.)

While Friedman's full-time job as co-chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group would have made it almost impossible for him to devote as much time to the presidency as Koch or his predecessor, Tom Sherak, Issacs is considered likely to be able to focus on her Academy duties.

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