Bill Kramer

Source: Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Bill Kramer

Bill Kramer has been named CEO of the Academy and will assume his new role on July 18 after Dawn Hudson ends her 11-year tenure.

Kramer, who currently serves as director and president of the Academy Museum, said the Academy board’s decision was “the great honour of my career” and looked forward to “galvanizing the unparalleled assets of the Academy”.

Hudson will remain as an advisor during the transition. A new Academy Museum director is expected to be announced in the near future.

Kramer joins at a challenging time for the Academy as ratings for its centrepiece Oscars ceremony continue to decline overall – despite a year-on-year gain at the recent 94th Academy Awards – amid speculation that the show is out of touch with mainstream sensibilities.

The organisation faced criticism after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars on March 27, with observers citing a lack of decisiveness and a failure to control the narrative. The board eventually banned Smith from all Academy-related events for 10 years, however that came nearly one week after Smith resigned.

Kramer will oversee the Oscars as well as global membership, the institution’s education and emerging talent initiatives and its collections housed in the Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive. His purview covers Academy Museum operations.

The executive was responsible for opening the Academy Museum in September 2021 after a number of delays resulting from funding issues and the pandemic. He oversaw the completion of the $388m fundraising campaign that launched the museum project and established an ongoing $40m annual operating revenue programme that includes an annual gala, ticket sales, museum membership, and more. The museum has sold more than 550,000 tickets in its first nine months.

Academy president David Rubin called Kramer “a transformational leader” whose vision for the Academy’s future was “likewise bold and inspiring”. Rubin paid tribute to the outgoing Hudson: “She initiated unprecedented efforts to create more space for diverse voices, both within the membership and our industry. She was tireless in shepherding our long-awaited museum to its opening and has fortified the Academy’s financial stability, allowing us to develop programs and provide mentoring for those in front of and behind the camera”.

“What a privilege it’s been to work with an exceptionally talented staff and dedicated board members to create a truly global institution, a world-class museum that honors this art form so beautifully, an abiding commitment to representation and inclusion, and a modern organization ready to lead in a changing world,” said Hudson. “I’ve worked with Bill for close to a decade, and no executive is more innovative, more connected to artists, or more passionate about the opportunities that lie ahead than he is. The Academy and the Academy Museum are in the best of hands.”

“It is the great honour of my career to take on the role as CEO of the Academy,” said Kramer. “I deeply believe in the power and artistry of cinema. I so look forward to galvanising the unparalleled assets of the Academy – the Oscars, our global community of more than 10,000 Academy members, and our museum, library, and archive – to promote and elevate the arts and sciences of the movies and inspire the next generation of filmmakers. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and for the incredible work of my colleagues Brendan Connell, Jr. and Jacqueline Stewart, who will continue the exceptional work of the Academy Museum.”

Kramer previously worked on the museum project before he took a break and eventually returned in 2019. During his time away he served as vice president of development at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has led capital campaigns for the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the California Institute of the Arts and has served in senior business and fundraising positions at the Sundance Institute, Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University School of the Arts.