BAFTA is expanding its North American operations by forming a North American board of directors that will unite the awards body’s New York and Los Angeles entities. And BAFTA is appointing Kathryn Busby, president of original programming at Starz, as the board’s new chair.
Also leading the new board as deputy chairs are actor Elliot Knight and Karl Stewart, who is the CEO of Thunder Child and president of 1TwentyFour.
The changes were approved by BAFTA’s U.S. members last year, and as a result, Matthew Wiseman, formerly the CEO of BAFTA Los Angeles, has been promoted and named as its executive director and head of North America. Former BAFTA New York director, Lisa Harrison, becomes director of operations, North America.
Among the board’s other leadership, Betsy Rodgers, SVP of business and legal affairs, IFC Entertainment and RLJE Films, will serve as secretary, and Josephine Coyle, director of post production finance for Walt Disney Studios, will serve as Treasurer.
Rounding out the North American board are BAFTA members Alexis Alexanian, Tara Grace, Pippa Harris, Nyasha Hatendi, Alexa Jago, Jonathan Katz, Joyce Pierpoline, Marc Samuelson and Jonathan Sehring.
The announcement follows last year’s appointments of Bal Samra, Andrew Miller, Siobhan Reddy and Patrick Keegan to the overarching BAFTA Board of Trustees, chaired by Krishnendu Majumdar. Busby and Knight will now also join the board of trustees as part of their appointment. The trustees include Krishnendu Majumdar (chair), Sara Putt (deputy chair), Busby, Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Elliot Knight, Anna Higgs, Patrick Keegan, Andrew Miller MBE, Ade Rawcliffe, Siobhan Reddy, Bal Samra, Paul Taiano OBE and Dr Jo Twist.
“I am truly honored to have been elected Chair of the inaugural BAFTA North America Board,” Busby said in a statement. “I could not be more excited to work alongside our New York, Los Angeles, and London-based board members. BAFTA is a vibrant and diverse global organization, and I am proud to be involved in championing creativity, social change and opportunity for all.”
“With the election of Kathryn Busby as chair of our new North America board, we can truly say that BAFTA is a global arts organization with a shared set of values and ambitions. Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years’ groundwork in bringing our UK and US operations together and promises closer collaboration and the continued expansion of our not-for-profit activities in the USA and beyond, such as BAFTA Breakthrough and the GSA BAFTA Student Awards,” Majumdar said. “My thanks to all the staff, our members and our committees who have worked towards today’s announcement and I look forward to a new era of collaboration with our colleagues in North America.”
“BAFTA is such a special organization, delivering an incredible breadth of work, all driven by the expertise and support within the BAFTA membership,” Wiseman added. “I am simply honored to be part of this incredible community, with a brilliantly talented hard-working Board and Staff, and am look forward now to collaborating on advancing BAFTA’s varied work even further here in North America.”
Nominations for the BAFTAs will be announced Feb. 3, and the film awards will take place March 13. The BAFTA Los Angeles tea party was among recent events postponed due to the spread of the Omicron variant.