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Golden Globes group elects new president amid pressure to reform

HFPA Vice President Helen Hoehne at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
HFPA Vice President Helen Hoehne arrives at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 28.
(NBC/Todd Williamson/NBC)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the voting body behind the Golden Globes, named Helen Hoehne president of the group’s board of directors on Wednesday.

Hoehne, an HFPA member since 2004 and a former board director between 2012 and 2019, became vice president of the 85-member association in 2020. She ran unopposed.

The appointment follows last week’s election of a new board of directors. Last month, the association voted to approve a slate of reforms and measures aimed at addressing the controversies that have long dogged the association, as well as overhaul the organization, expand membership with a focus on diversity and restore its credibility with the entertainment industry.

“It’s a privilege to lead this organization as we continue on the path of fundamental change and reform,” Hoehne said in a statement. “Since May, members have shown their commitment to creating a reimagined HFPA. We are excited for the future of our association and look forward to connecting with our colleagues in the industry — both old and new — over these next few months.”

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Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members take a pivotal vote on reforms. But industry players question whether this signals meaningful change.

Hoehne, a journalist from Germany, takes over the presidency at a critical juncture as the embattled HFPA attempts to make good on its pledge earlier this year to enact “transformational change.”

Hoehne is part of the newly elected 12-member HFPA board. It was drawn from the organization’s existing membership pool following the group’s vote on its new bylaws but before the admittance of any new members — a step that has raised eyebrows among those pressing for significant changes, including the composition of the group’s leadership.

Some insiders are skeptical whether Hoehne can reform the organization when she represents the old guard. She succeeds Ali Sar, a Turkish journalist and longtime HFPA member who became president last year, replacing Lorenzo Soria, who died halfway into his two-year term.

After a Times investigation in February brought to light allegations of financial and ethical lapses and pointed out that none of the HFPA’s then 87 members was Black, the group vowed to make sweeping changes. In March, a contingent of powerful entertainment publicists implemented a boycott, withholding clients from participating in HFPA activities. In May, NBC pulled the plug on the 2022 Golden Globes broadcast after Netflix cut ties with the organization “until more meaningful changes are made.”

Hoehne could wield significant power. In addition to working toward re-engaging with Hollywood and getting the Golden Globes back on track, as president she will inform a number of upcoming HFPA appointments, including three outside directors and the organization’s first ever CEO.

The CEO is part of a new C-suite that will include a chief financial officer, chief diversity officer and a chief human resources officer, who will serve at the board’s discretion for a one-year term, according to the provisions outlined in the association’s new bylaws.

Hoehne will also sit on the soon to be formed credentials committee that will vet and determine candidates for admission to the HFPA. She could also likely hold sway over which members serve on various committees and the compensation they might earn.

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Among the many issues Hoehne will help the HFPA navigate is whether the organization will consider establishing a for-profit spin-off.

In July, a week before the group voted on its new bylaws, Todd Boehly, chairman of Eldridge Industries and the parent company of longtime Golden Globes producer Dick Clark Productions, proposed a for-profit spinoff company in partnership with Eldridge.


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