Washington lawyer among finalists in MPAA’s long and winding job search


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For those still keeping track of the dizzying search to find a new chief executive for the Motion Picture Assn. of America, here’s another name to add to the short list: Antoinette Cook Bush.

The veteran Washington, D.C., communications attorney, who is also a stepdaughter of Democratic eminence grise Vernon Jordan, is among the finalists to head Hollywood’s chief lobbying arm, people close to the search process said. Bush is a partner in the global powerhouse firm Skadden, Arps, and her clients have included News Corp., Viacom Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment and the MPAA itself.


Retired Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) also is in the running for the job, insiders say.

Bush is the only female candidate who has emerged to date and is seen as an experienced Washington hand, having served as a senior counsel to the communications subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the early 1990s. The subcommittee oversees the Federal Communications Commission and also routinely deals with the industry on business and regulatory issues.

Bush already has been interviewed by several studio chief executives. Of course, given recent history, there’s no guarantee she will get the job, which has been vacant since former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman stepped down in January 2010.

Other finalists have come and gone, either because they didn’t want the gig, which carries a salary of $1.2 million, or studio executives couldn’t agree on whom to pick. Most recently, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) flirted with the job before being eliminated as a candidate. Before that, the job nearly went to former Nebraska Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey. But he backed out, in part because he was ambivalent about the job and didn’t want to uproot his family by moving from New York to Washington.

At least that won’t be an issue for Bush.

-- Richard Verrier