Ilyanne Kichaven has been named Hollywood executive director for the Screen Actors Guild, the union announced Tuesday.

Kichaven is now the Guild's national director of communications, and will take over her post in January. Kichaven first worked with the union, which represents 120,000 members nationwide, including 70,000 in Hollywood, as a communications consultant in 2000.

Kichaven takes the key Hollywood position at a contentious time when some East Coast guild representatives are challenging the September election of Alan Rosenberg as SAG national president. It also follows the dismissal of SAG's national chief executive Greg Hessinger in October.

"There are many challenges facing the Hollywood members of this great union and I am eager to get to work on their behalf," Kichaven said in a statement, citing a commitment to strengthen collective bargaining agreements and advocacy efforts.

The position of executive director has been unfilled since 2001, when Leonard Chassman retired. Kichaven's promotion was rumored in media reports earlier this month, but first had to be approved by a majority of the Guild's 55-member Hollywood division board, as well as the union's national board.

She will work directly with the Guild's interim national executive director Peter Frank.

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