The Motion Picture Association of America has tapped recently retired Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., to serve as its new chairman and CEO.
The MPAA, the lobbying arm of the major Hollywood studios which also oversees the film rating system, has been seeking a replacement for over a year, after Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture under the Clinton administration and ex-lawmaker from Kansas, stepped down.
Dodd decided not to seek reelection last year after spending three decades in the Senate. He will begin his new job March 17, replacing interim chief Bob Pisano.
"I am truly excited about representing the interests of one of the most creative and productive industries in America, not only in Washington but around the world,” Dodd said in a statement. “The major motion picture studios consistently produce and distribute the most sought after and enjoyable entertainment on earth. Protecting this great American export will be my highest priority.”
The MPAA was initially in talks with Bob Kerrey, former governor and Senator from Nebraska, to take on the role, but that courtship fell apart last summer after Kerrey called off negotiations. Still, being the MPAA’s chief lobbyist in Washington is a coveted post, held by the legendary late Jack Valenti for almost 35 years before Glickman was chosen as his successor in 2004. According to the Los Angeles Times, Dodd will be making $1.5 million a year.
Dodd, 66, has been known to have ties with Hollywood’s finest. He once dated Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” by his own reckoning and is close with SNL creator Lorne Michaels.