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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

NEWSMAKERS: TV Executive Tunes In To Academy Post

NEWSMAKERS: TV Executive Tunes In To Academy Post

Todd Leavitt has always been a television enthusiast, and so now, as new president and chief operating officer of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, he’ll get to have a direct impact on the industry.

Leavitt will oversee the daily operations of the North Hollywood academy and advise members of its governing body. ATAS sponsors the Emmy Awards, publishes Emmy Magazine, runs a charitable foundation and the Archive of American Television.

“Many Los Angeles County issues come from the television industry,” Leavitt said. He starts his new job Oct. 14.

Among the issues he will be dealing are runaway production and ethnic diversity in the industry. But a large part of his job will involve the academy’s archives and foundation.

“American’s watch more television than any other nation, and it is our main cultural export to the world,” Leavitt said.

He will report to ATAS Chairman and Chief Executive Bryce Zabel and ATAS Foundation Chairman Tom Sarnoff.

Founded in 1946, the non profit Academy sponsors meetings, conferences and activities in a variety of areas involving traditional broadcast interests, new media and emerging digital technology.

Leavitt has a long history in the entertainment industry. Most recently, he was managing director of Tulip Media Ltd., a film financing company. Before that, he was chairman of the Alliance Television Group. He has also held executive positions with NBC and the American Film Marketing Association.

Leavitt graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in film from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and has a law degree from New York University.

He lives in West Los Angeles with his wife and twin daughters.

Laurie Kaye


Charlie Hefferon was named senior vice president and manager of Bank of America’s main Los Angeles office. Hefferon, who joined Bank of America in 1974 and most recently was the community manager overseeing the Eastland, East Workman-Citrus and Citrus and Arrow Highway banking centers in the San Gabriel Valley, will be responsible for day-to-day management of the bank’s lead office in Los Angeles.


Lynn Bolton has been promoted to vice president, director of client and strategic services for Adlink, a buyer of television ad time. She had been local sales manager serving Los Angeles ad agencies. Dean Walters has been promoted to national sales manager at Adlink. He has been with the firm for 10 years, most recently serving as senior account executive.


Marshal Backlar is the new senior vice-president for executive guidance and placement for TTG Consultants. A member of the producer’s branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, he was a director of prime time drama at ABC-TV, and a director of the London office of Korn/Ferry International


Elizabeth H. Michelson has been named executive director of Wonder of Reading. Michelson had previously been an independent consultant in commercial real estate market analysis.

J.D. Power III, president of J.D. Power and Associates of Agoura Hills, has been elected chairman of the Cal State Northridge Foundation Board. Debra K. Papageorge, vice president and senior trust consultant for Morgan Stanley Trust, was elected vice chair.

New board members include: William Allison, vice president and general manager of Navigation Systems Group, Northrop Grumman; Sherry S. Barrat, chairman and chief executive of Northern Trust Bank of California; John W. Bradley, controller for Boeing Co.; John Schueler, president, chief executive and publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News, and Dale Surowitz, chief executive of the Encino-Tarzana Medical Center.


Steffen Wild has been named senior vice president of creative development for PowerHouse Studios Inc., responsible for managing digital effects and animation, creative development and the execution of content. He previously worked with CirqueMedia LLC.

Dawn Steinberg, a casting director on NBC’s comedy pilot “Coupling,” has been named a casting consultant to the network. She had served as executive in charge of casting for the network’s fall 2002 season.

Financial Services

Countrywide Credit Industries Inc. has named Doug Jones president of a new senior management group called the Institutional Mortgage Services Group. Jack Schakett has been promoted to managing director and will serve as chief operating officer of IMSG. Schakett joined Countrywide from Halbourton Financial in 1998 and held the position of executive vice president prior to his promotion.

Health Care

Dr. Helen Chernicoff has been appointed vice president for research and development at Woodland Hills-based Health Benchmarks Inc. Chernicoff will oversee all phases of HBI clinical research and scientific development. Chernicoff is a board-certified family physician who recently completed a three-year National Institute of Health Research Service Award Fellowship.

Robert W. Lundy has been elected board chairman of the Partners in Care Foundation in Burbank. A four-year member of the Partners board, Lundy is an attorney specializing in health law and focusing on business and transaction issues. He is co-founder of the law firm of Hooper Lundy & Bookman.


Adam Grosz has joined the Los Angeles office of Marsh Risk & Insurance Services as vice president in its financial and professional practice, responsible for marketing, placement and servicing of directors and officers, fiduciary liability, employment practice liability insurance, commercial crime and errors and omissions coverage. Prior to joining Marsh, Grosz had been a consultant with Aon.


Michael Berk and Paul Anderson has joined Greenberg Glusker as partner and of counsel, respectively. Berk is a real estate litigator, Anderson is the former City Attorney for the Northern California cities of Sausalito and Brentwood and a special counsel to Mono County for environmental and land use litigation defense.

Susan Hilton has rejoined the Los Angeles office of Murchison & Cumming as of counsel in the firm’s general liability practice, specializing in the defense of lawyers, real estate brokers, accountants, architects, engineers and health care providers.


Optical Communication Products Inc. has announced the hiring of Kirk Bovill as director of marketing. Prior to joining the Chatsworth-based company, Bovill held various sales and marketing positions at Tyco, Molex and Blaze Network Products.

Nutritional Supplements

Peter Leighton will join Natrol Inc. as vice president of marketing and product development. Leighton is founder of Copernican Associates, a management consultancy based in Lafayette, Calif. He is a former senior vice president of marketing for Weider Nutrition International of Salt Lake City and vice president of biotechnology company Galileo Laboratories of Santa Clara.

Public Relations

Sara Finmann and Kate DiRanna have been hired by mPRm Public Relations as director of its film division in New York and as a general entertainment account executive in Los Angeles, respectively. The L.A.-based firm also announced that Karen Barragan has been promoted to senior account executive and that Syvetril Perryman and Brian O’Bannon have been promoted to account coordinators in Los Angeles.

Scott Pansky was named president of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society. Pansky joined EPPS in 2000, developing a new media committee focusing on the convergence of entertainment and digital media. He also was a managing partner in Allison & Partners.

Real Estate

Arthur Salmonson has been appointed as senior leasing manager for the Catalina Landing office complex in downtown Long Beach for Abbey Co. Prior to joining Abbey, he was the western regional real estate manager for Wired Environmentalists, a telecom company.

Joan Woods has been hired as leasing director for the California Market Center, where she will be responsible for leasing space in the home d & #233;cor category at the 3 million-square-foot permanent showroom facility. Previously, Woods was director of specialty leasing for TrizecHahn Development Corp.


Christophe Eme has been appointed head chef at L’Orangerie, in Los Angeles. He previously worked as Chef de Partie under Chef Phillippe Legendre at Taillevent in Paris.

Scott Fickling has been named general manager of the Palm. He has been with Palm Management Corp., operator of the chain, since 1996.


Doug Garnee has been appointed director of human resources for the California Manufacturing Technology Center, where he will be responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures. Prior to his appointment, Garnee was director and market manager for Spherion Corp. Gerald Church has been appointed business development sales representative at CMTC’s San Fernando/San Gabriel office.

Gary Hutchinson has been appointed president and chief executive of Precision Dynamics Corp., a maker of identification wristbands. Hutchinson, who has been a member of the company’s board since June, had previously served as vice president and general manager of the cardiology division at Aligent Technologies.

Woodland Hills-based Vertel Corp. has appointed Michael A. Sternberg to its board, replacing Jack Reily who has resigned. Sternberg most recently was chief executive of Universal Broadband Networks Inc. and president and chief executive of KMC Telecom Holdings Inc.

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