EXCLUSIVE: Ron Kutak, the longtime national executive director of IATSE Editors Guild Local 700, will retire on November 1. He will be succeeded by Cathy Repola, the guild’s Western executive director.

Kutak, 66, is the longest-serving chief executive officer of any union in Hollywood. He came to the guild in 1981 as a videotape rep, and was named executive director four years later. “I think I left the union in a better place than I found it,” he told Deadline.

He certainly left it bigger and stronger. Under the direction of then-IATSE president Tommy Short, Kutak oversaw the merger of the Local 776, the Editors Guild in Hollywood, and Local 771, the Editors Guild in New York, to form one national Editors Guild, Local 700.

Further consolidation came in 1998, when the Editors Guild took over the post-production jurisdiction of Sound Local 695 in Hollywood and Studio Mechanics Local 52 in New York. Another IATSE local – Story Analysts Local 854 – merged into the Editors Guild in 2000.

“We’re strong,” Kutak said. “We have a national union. We‘re in good shape. We have a board that works together and we are united.”

Repola, who will become the first female to hold the union’s top job, came to the guild in 1992 as an assistant executive director, and became Western executive director in 2010.

Upon Kutak’s retirement, she will become the second female executive officer appointed to lead a national IATSE guild in less than a year. In December, Rebecca Rhine was named national executive director of the Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, succeeding Bruce Doering, who had held the post for 30 years. She is also the first female to hold the post.