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Film academy names L.A. Sparks' Christine Simmons as COO

Film academy names L.A. Sparks' Christine Simmons as COO
Christine Simmons will begin her new position with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in January. (Rachel Luna / Getty Images)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday that it has brought on Christine Simmons as chief operating officer, filling an executive position that had been empty since 2013 at a time of ongoing change and expansion for the institution.

The president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team, Simmons will begin work at the academy in January under Chief Executive Dawn Hudson. Simmons will oversee day-to-day management of the academy’s internal organization, with a particular focus on the Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive, as well as its educational programs and Science and Technology Council.

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Simmons’ hiring comes at a pivotal time for the academy as it prepares to open its long-awaited museum next year, continues its push to diversify its membership and looks to stem declining ratings for the Oscars telecast. The position had been vacant since the departure five years ago of previous Chief Operating Officer Ric Robertson.

“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 a statement. “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.”

Before taking charge of the Sparks, Simmons served as executive vice president of Magic Johnson Enterprises and held senior positions managing and expanding supplier diversity at both Disney and NBC/Universal Studios. She previously served as board president of the UCLA Alumni Assn. and is a member of the UCLA Foundation’s Board of Directors and the 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.”

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