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BAFTA announces expansion of North America operations

Jan 7, 2022

Kathryn Busby appointed chair and Elliot Knight and Karl Stewart appointed deputy chairs of BAFTA’s new North America board

  • Matthew Wiseman named executive director and Head of North America
  • Changes to BAFTA’s US operational structure to strengthen arts charity’s global impact
  • Announcement follows new appointments to BAFTA’s Board of Trustees earlier in the year

BAFTA has confirmed the expansion of its North America operations today, including the formation of the inaugural North America Board and the appointment of its chair, Kathryn Busby, president of original programming at Starz, and deputy chairs, actor Elliot Knight and Karl Stewart, CEO, Thunder Child and president, of 1TwentyFour.

The new structure unifies BAFTA’s New York and Los Angeles entities and strengthens the British arts charity’s global mission to inspire, support and celebrate across film, games and television, delivering greater benefits to its membership, programme participants and audiences wherever they are.

Following the changes approved by BAFTA’s US members last year, Matthew Wiseman is promoted to executive director and head of North America, having previously served as CEO of BAFTA Los Angeles. Former BAFTA New York Director, Lisa Harrison, becomes director of operations, North America.

Betsy Rodgers, SVP, business & legal affairs, IFC Entertainment and RLJE Films, will serve as secretary, and Josephine Coyle, director, post production finance, Walt Disney Studios, as treasurer. The North America Board is completed by BAFTA members Alexis Alexanian, Tara Grace, Pippa Harris, Nyasha Hatendi, Alexa Jago, Jonathan Katz, Joyce Pierpoline, Marc Samuelson and Jonathan Sehring.

The announcement follows the appointments of Bal Samra, Andrew Miller, Siobhan Reddy and Patrick Keegan to the overarching BAFTA Board of Trustees, chaired by Krishnendu Majumdar, last year. As chair and deputy chair of the North America board, Kathryn Busby and Elliot Knight will now join BAFTA’s Board of Trustees. The members of BAFTA’s Board of Trustees are Krishnendu Majumdar (chair), Sara Putt (deputy chair), Kathryn Busby, Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Elliot Knight, Anna Higgs, Patrick Keegan, Andrew Miller MBE, Ade Rawcliffe, Siobhan Reddy, Bal Samra, Paul Taiano OBE and Dr Jo Twist.

Kathryn Busby, chair of BAFTA’s North America Board, said: “I am truly honoured to have been elected chair of the inaugural BAFTA North America Board. I could not be more excited to work alongside our New York, Los Angeles, and London-based board members. BAFTA is a vibrant and diverse global organization, and I am proud to be involved in championing creativity, social change and opportunity for all.”

Krishnendu Majumdar, chair of BAFTA, said “With the election of Kathryn Busby as chair of our new North America board, we can truly say that BAFTA is a global arts organisation with a shared set of values and ambitions. Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years’ groundwork in bringing our UK and US operations together and promises closer collaboration and the continued expansion of our not-for-profit activities in the USA and beyond, such as BAFTA Breakthrough and the GSA BAFTA Student Awards. My thanks to all the staff, our members and our committees who have worked towards today’s announcement and I look forward to a new era of collaboration with our colleagues in North America.”

Matthew Wiseman, BAFTA’s executive director and head of North America, said: “BAFTA is such a special organization, delivering an incredible breadth of work, all driven by the expertise and support within the BAFTA membership. I am simply honored to be part of this incredible community, with a brilliantly talented hard-working Board and Staff, and am look forward now to collaborating on advancing BAFTA’s varied work even further here in North America.”

BAFTA has had a presence in the US since the formation of BAFTA Los Angeles in 1987, followed by BAFTA New York in 1996. Now, with almost 2,000 members in North America, BAFTA’s activities in North America include Learning, Inclusion and Talent initiatives like BAFTA Breakthrough USA, the GSA BAFTA Student Awards, the US Newcomers Program, Scholarships, and local Mentorship schemes, as well as high-profile celebrations like the BAFTA Tea Parties and the British Academy Britannia Awards.

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