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The Academy's First Black President Is Stepping Down From Its Governing Board

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' first black president, and the woman who spearheaded the historic initiative to increase the diversity of its membership after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, will not seek re-election to the organization's board of governors this year.

After about 25 years as a board member, Boone Isaacs will not be running in this year's board race, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg reports. Her four-year term as president of the Academy expires this summer. Under Academy rules, Boone Isaacs would have been eligible to seek one more three-year term as a governing board member.

Boone Isaacs' four-year term as president has been an eventful one: She led the organization during the #OscarsSoWhite protests of 2015 and 2016, which criticized the lack of diversity among Oscars nominees. In January of 2016, Boone Isaacs announced that the Academy was committing to doubling the Academy's women and "diverse members"  by 2020, adding new governor seats for those members and restructuring lifetime voting rights. "The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," she said in a statement.

In 2017, Boone Isaacs presided over a ceremony in which the Best Picture winner was initially awarded to the wrong film—La La Land, instead of Moonlight. The Academy's governors board ultimately decided to keep the accounting firm responsible for handing out award envelopes, PricewaterhouseCoopers, despite the fact that a wrong envelope created the broadcast snafu.

Despite its prestige, presiding over the Academy is a part-time job; Boone Isaacs still also works as a marketing consultant. Though she reportedly worked 24 hours per week for the organization last year, she has performed her duties for the Academy pro bono, as past presidents have.

Perhaps owing in part to that work schedule, Boone Isaacs appears ready to step aside. "Academy sources say that after a grueling four years in that office [as president], she is looking forward to some time off," Feinberg wrote.

The Academy is not without eager candidates to fill Boone Isaacs' place on the board. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker, Get Out producer Jason Blum, and actors Whoopi Goldberg and Queen Latifah are all seeking positions this year. Presidents are chosen among the organization's 54-member board of governors—which will have changed by the time Boone Isaacs steps down mid-summer.