BAFTA LA executive director and COO Donald Haber will step down from the organisation on May 31 after 20 years of service.

Haber joined the BAFTA LA board in 1994, was elected treasurer in 1996, executive director in 1998 and COO in 2006.

He will stay on to help with the selection and transition of a new chief executive.

During his tenure Haber worked alongside seven BAFTA LA Chairpersons: Arnold Schwartzman, Su Lesser, Gary Dartnall (two separate terms), Peter Morris, Nigel Lythgoe, Neil Stiles, and current incumbent Nigel Daly. 

“Donald has provided exceptional leadership, overseeing significant growth of BAFTA LA these past 20 years,” said Daly, Screen International’s head of North American sales, advertising and business development.

“Our membership, staff, financial resources, community outreach, screenings and learning programs, Britannia Awards and the popular Tea Parties – all have grown dramatically despite two recessions and major changes in our industries.

“Haber has also been a leader in creating closer bonds with BAFTA in the UK, and a strong advocate for an international BAFTA. BAFTA is now better recognised and more respected and the membership and board are grateful for Don’s many contributions.”

In a note to colleagues, Haber wrote: “This is something I have long contemplated and believe is appropriate at this time, as I look forward to having more time for my family and other interests. We have just had our most successful year, both financially and creatively, and I am intentionally announcing my retirement now to actively participate in the selection and transition to a new chief officer over the next twelve months.”

He continued: “BAFTA LA currently has, in my opinion, the best staff any chief officer could hope to have, and I am grateful for their tireless and effective work in all areas of our Academy… I am confident that a year from now BAFTA LA will remain in very capable hands.”