With the death of SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard today, the Hollywood union finds itself in a unique situation relating to his successor. Being that Howard was the first and only elected president of the merged union, the question of who will formally take over the top spot will be answered via a series of stages, Deadline has learned. That process could see SAG-AFTRA appoint an interim president within less than a month.
Currently, union EVP Gabrielle Carteris has stepped into the position of acting president, while also keeping her own job duties. She was re-elected to a second term in October. According to insiders, the union protocol calls for an acting president until the SAG-AFTRA board elects an interim president to fill the remainder of Howard’s second term. Re-elected last year, Howard’s current term expires with the next election scheduled for fall 2017.
Presently, a national board meeting is scheduled for the weekend of April 9-10 and likely will see the election of an interim president at that time. At this early stage, of course, no candidates have stepped forward.
Howard was first was elected president of SAG in 2009 and was re-elected in 2011. He served as co-president after helping drive the 2012 merger with AFTRA and was elected to a third term in 2013. He was re-elected again in August, running on his record of accomplishment that included the merger and more than $800 million in contract gains without a strike during his tenure.
He also cited “significant progress” toward merging the SAG and AFTRA health plans, faster processing of residuals checks, a budget surplus this year of $9.1 million and California’s $330 million film and television tax credit program.
Carteris was a part of the group that helped develop the plan to merge SAG and AFTRA and served during the transition year as national VP, Los Angeles. The former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress also was president of the L.A. local when she ran for and was elected to the EVP post in September 2013. At the time she was endorsed by former union co-president Roberta Reardon; Howard backed NY Local president Mike Hodge.