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March 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

After a year-long search and months-long negotiations, the Motion Picture Association of America has named former U.S. Senator Thomas Dodd its CEO. The 66-year-old Dodd, who served in the U.S. Congress for more than half his life — three terms as a Connecticut congressman; five terms as the state’s senator — succeeds two other Washington insiders, former Kansas congressman and Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and former presidential adviser Jack Valenti. But while the MPAA chief is generally regarded as the movie industry’s chief lobbyist, Dodd told the Hartford Courant “I will not be lobbying any of my colleagues” for the time being and will abide by rules requiring former congressmen to wait two years after leaving office before becoming an active lobbyist. He will reportedly receive an annual salary of $1.5 million, 12 times what he earned as a U.S. senator. Dodd, who has made fund-raising trips to Hollywood as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is on friendly terms with numerous Hollywood stars and studio executives. The offer to head the MPAA, he told the Courant, “really came out of the blue. They came to me.” While the post entails dealing with powerful heads of the six major studios who are often pushing conflicting agendas, Dodd told the newspaper, “It’s a great job. It’s an international operation. They have offices in Beijing and Brussels and Toronto. … They’re great issues, important issues.” Those issues range from falling theater attendance to the incursion of digital media to growing dissatisfaction among theater owners over DVD release dates — and perhaps above all — to copyright piracy. “It’s a very awkward time to be stepping into this thing,” Gigi Johnson, a lecturer at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management who specializes in the media industry, told the Los Angeles Times. “You’ve got so many forces going in different and not necessarily positive directions and you’ve got a group of incredibly opinionated members each with different perspectives and business models. Making all of them happy is probably nearly impossible.”