EXCLUSIVE: Russ Hollander will be the DGA’s next chief executive succeeding Jay Roth, who is retiring in May after leading the guild for more than two decades. The appointment was made Sunday at a meeting of the guild’s national board of directors.
A Harvard Law grad, Hollander has been a member of the guild’s executive hierarchy for more than 15 years. He joined the DGA staff in 2001 as assistant eastern executive director, and the next year was promoted to eastern executive director, serving as the chief of staff of the DGA’s New York office until January 2016, when he moved to Los Angeles after being named one of the guild’s three associate national executive directors.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected by the national board to serve in this role, and a privilege to have learned so much from Jay whose guidance for directors and their teams has elevated the DGA to an industry leading position,” Hollander said in a statement. “The strength of our guild is derived from the unique collaborative structure they have crafted together, and we are well prepared to continue our trajectory of success.”
As the guild’s next national executive director, Hollander will serve as chief negotiator for the guild’s film and TV contracts. He’s taken part in those talks for the last 10 years, playing a key role in the negotiation of provisions relating to new media. The guild’s latest film and TV pact, which featured a tripling of residuals for members working on top-tier subscription video-on-demand shows, was ratified by the DGA’s members just last month.
“Russ has the experience and ability to carry forward our guild’s enduring mission while navigating the uncharted waters of tomorrow’s world,” said Roth, who will remain with the guild as a senior advisor after his retirement. “In the decade and a half since he joined our senior executive team from a top labor law firm, he has expanded our guild’s footprint, organizing and tirelessly working with leadership to build a thriving work environment for our members on the East Coast, laying important groundwork with employers, government and industry leaders. Nationally, he has led complex negotiations on behalf of our members in news, sports and commercials, and guided our expanded jurisdiction in non-dramatic, and new media.”
“In this appointment, we ensure the continued strength and stability of our guild,” said DGA president Paris Barclay. “Long committed to advancing the creative and economic rights of our members, Russ is a respected and accomplished leader with a strong track record of success on behalf of our membership and the industry. Together with his deep roots in our guild, Russ brings the necessary combination of strategic thinking, negotiating prowess, labor law expertise, and appreciation of our craft to build upon the DGA’s strong foundation under Jay, well into the future.”
With his new title will come a sizable pay raise, but it will have to be a big one if he’s to match the salary of Roth, who’s the highest paid union official in the entertainment industry. According to financial reports filed with the U.S. Deptartmen of Labor, Roth earned $800,422 in 2015 – the last year for which information is publicly available. That year, Hollander earned $347,976 – just slightly less than the guild’s other two associate national executive directors, David Korduner and Bryan Unger.