The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has hired Christine Simmons chief operating officer, the culmination of a search to find some executive backup for CEO Dawn Hudson. Simmons, currently president and COO of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, will assume her new role in January, reporting to Hudson.

Deadline reported last month that the Oscar Academy had quietly engaged a search firm looking for a COO. The group hasn’t had a chief operating officer since 2013, when Ric Robertson, a longtime Academy executive who had held the COO position for about two and a half years, resigned. AMPAS’ recent growth in membership to roughly 8,000 helped spur the search for the role.

Simmons is a veteran with a previous exec role at Magic Johnson Enterprises. Before that she held senior positions managing and expanding supplier diversity at Disney and NBCUniversal. At the Academy, she will be responsible for the day-to-day management and enhancement of its internal organization and infrastructure, with focus on the Academy Foundation, educational programs and the Science and Technology Council.

“There has been — and continues to be — a sea change in our film community, our Academy, and in the culture at large,” Hudson said in Thursday’s announcement. “Christine brings both nonprofit and corporate management expertise, an ability to implement creative solutions, and a love of film to our Academy. It’s the perfect moment for an innovative thinker.”

Simmons serves on the advisory councils for Women in Sports and Events and Next Play Capital. She previously served as board president of the UCLA Alumni Association and is a member of the UCLA Foundation’s Board of Directors and UC Regents.

“I look forward to joining the team and contributing to the innovation and growth of the operational excellence of the Academy,” Simmons said. “The organization’s efforts to support filmmakers and programs where every person’s story can be told are invaluable.”