UPDATES UPDATE: SAG’s David White To Be Hired Without Official Search Or Vetting

SAGWell, the Big Media moguls have told me they like this guy. Which is good or bad depending on a SAG member’s point of view. He was never vetted by the SAG leadership for his interim appointment. He never questioned any of the key terms of the most recent Theatrical/TV contract except for the date it would expire. And now he has been appointed to permanent status without SAG enlisting an official search committee.

Los Angeles (October 18, 2009) — Screen Actors Guild announced today that its National Board of Directors appointed David P. White as National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator. White has been serving as the Guild’s Interim National Executive Director since January of this year.

The board approved a two-year contract, by a vote of 70.91% to 29.09% at its national board meeting in Los Angeles this weekend.

Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard commented, “I am very pleased that our board has selected David White as National Executive Director. David is a highly skilled professional, with a remarkable ability to listen to the concerns of all sides of complex issues. He is respected by members and staff and I am confident that under his leadership, the Guild will continue building on the achievements he has overseen in the past nine months. We now have six previously open contracts ratified, new cost saving and administrative improvements in place, and innovative initiatives underway. I congratulate David on this position and look forward to working with him during my term as President.”

White stated, “I am honored to accept this position and want to thank the National Board, and the many members who have reached out to me, for their support and statements of confidence in my leadership. I particularly want to extend my personal thanks to my colleague John McGuire for stepping up to the plate during this transition.

“We will continue to get our house in order—financially and strategically. I have great confidence in the Guild’s ability to navigate the dramatic changes taking place in our industry. Screen Actors Guild has a remarkable history and we look forward to the extraordinary future that we know awaits us.”

Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino stated, “Screen Actors Guild is extremely lucky to have David White at the helm for another two years. From his hiring nine months ago, he made it a top priority to make a clear and unflinching assessment of SAG’s financial situation, and then he took the difficult and necessary steps to address it. David truly appreciates and admires actors and understands the challenges we face as professionals. His expertise and previous tenure at the Guild make him the perfect choice for this crucial position, and his strategic vision will help SAG thrive as we navigate this critical phase in our history.”

SAG veteran executive John McGuire, who was appointed chief negotiator when White came on as interim national executive director, will continue as senior advisor.

Prior to rejoining the Guild staff, where he previously served as General Counsel from 2002 to 2006, White was Managing Principal of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Strategies Group (ESG) providing consulting services to the entertainment industry.

During his tenure as the Guild’s General Counsel, White directed the organization’s 40-person legal and governance staff, and played a central role in contract negotiations, strategic planning efforts and diversity programs.

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a Rhodes Scholar, White was a labor and employment attorney at O’Melveny & Myers LLP before joining the executive ranks of SAG. Prior to law school, White served as Executive Director of the neighborhood-based, non-profit Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc. He also consulted for the Department of Justice, the Chapin Hall Center for Children (University of Chicago) and a variety of urban development projects in the United States, England and South Africa.

White has been selected as a “Southern California Super Lawyer – Rising Star” and has received numerous other awards for his work and service throughout his career. He is the former Co-Chair of the Sports & Entertainment Labor Law Standing Committee of the American Bar Association. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Grinnell College, and was appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles as a Commissioner for urban area planning and development. White has served on the Board of Advisors for the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Posse Foundation-LA, an organization dedicated to expanding educational and leadership opportunities to students across Los Angeles County.

White has been a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Lawyer and, as a frequent commentator on entertainment industry trends, has been quoted on National Public Radio’s “Marketplace,” and in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Broadcasting & Cable, and other publications.