Participant Media has just hired Bob Pilon as EVP Social Impact. He previously was chief development officer for Bono’s The ONE Campaign. This was something Deadline inquired about a month ago, and we were told by Participant that they were not expanding/hiring in their social impact division. Gotta love Hollywood, huh? Participant said there is nothing new here, just that a new executive is coming in to replace Chad Boettcher, who left to go to Univision. This is a big hire for the company as Pilon is well-known in this space.
Pilon, who will work to create awareness, build action-oriented campaigns and sustain movements to make true social change, will report to Participant CEO David Linde and COO Sam Neswick. Pilon will work with both the non-profit world and public/private sector partners in working to advance causes that are aligned with Participant and its social impact-driven films.
This is something that was done superbly well by director Jeff Orlowski for his award-winning film Chasing Ice. Out of necessity, he worked rigorously on a grassroots level to try to make change. What he single-handedly did in marketing his film in Ohio made a huge social impact on changing votes on climate change. His success had other executives taking notice. We had heard that Participant was one of those companies that was going to increase its social impact strength and division, but were told about a month ago that nothing was happening.
Pilon will work closely with leaders across the Jeff Skoll Group — including those from the Skoll Foundation, Skoll Global Threats Fund, and Capricorn Investment Group — to tap established expert resources, advance campaign effectiveness, and connect dots between cause supporters as they mobilize in action.
Pilon has a lot of experience doing this. At The ONE Campaign he was the organization’s first chief development officer. He did a heck of a job developing and driving the very successful mobilization and partnerships for ONE, which resulted in over $80M in new financing and some of the organization’s most significant alliances for the advancement of its mission to end extreme poverty and preventable disease.
In December 2015, Pilon was the executive producer of ONE and (RED)’s World AIDS Day concert at Carnegie Hall, featuring U2’s Bono and The Edge, Hozier, Jessie J and Miley Cyrus. During the show, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Everytown For Gun Safety) and Bill and Melinda Gates were honored for their humanitarian work.
Prior to ONE, Pilon held senior leadership positions at high-impact NGOs including Malaria No More, Thelonious Monk Institute and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation after starting his career at Bloomberg L.P.