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Academy Software Foundation Adopts New Governing Board Succession Plan to Foster Inclusive Representation

Today the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), the premier organization for advancing open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, has announced details of its newly adopted Governing Board succession plan. This effort is the result of months of work from the Foundation’s Diversity & Inclusion Working Group and Governing Board members, as a codified effort to increase representation across gender identity, race, and ethnicity within the organization’s highest levels.

The Academy Software Foundation was formed in August 2018 as a partnership between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy) and the Linux Foundation, to serve as a neutral platform for continued development and adoption of open source software in the media and entertainment industry. Today the Foundation has 33 member organizations, and manages 10 open source projects and 5 Working Groups. As the Foundation continues to grow, one of its key goals is to increase representation at all levels across the open source ecosystem to more accurately reflect the broader community.

To that end, the Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, led by Carol Payne (Imaging Technologist, Netflix) and Rachel Rose (R&D Supervisor, ILM), and a Board committee led by Mike Ford (CTO, Sony Pictures Imageworks) and Andy Maltz (SVP, Science and Technology Council at the Academy), developed a succession plan based on the Foundation’s goals which aims to:

  1. Improve diversity to ensure the makeup of the Governing Board reflects the communities the Academy Software Foundation serves and in which it is rooted
  2. Provide a framework and mechanisms to better promote and establish diverse viewpoints and increase participation by including new ideas and perspectives within the Governing Board
  3. Establish procedures to introduce, train, and educate new leaders to serve on the Governing Board

Accepted by the Governing Board on April 26, the succession plan includes the following features:

  1. Term limits: Governing Board members now have a four-year maximum term from the start of their membership, with the ability to serve again after a minimum two-year break
  2. Phase-in plan: The Governing Board will rotate out a minimum of 25% of qualifying members annually, beginning this December 1, with subsequent minimum 25% rotation targets each December 1 thereafter until all founding Governing Board members are rotated out
  3. Alternates: Governing Board members must select an alternate within their first two years of membership. Alternates will serve as voting members if their primary members are unavailable. The Governing Board will begin introducing alternates immediately, with all alternates in place by this July 1.

“While the result of this work is great, another amazing outcome is the collaboration and engagement from current ASWF Governing Board members to make it happen. All of them have embraced this cause wholeheartedly, immediately recognizing the need and moving to action. It continues to be a huge pleasure to work within an organization full of such thoughtful and forward-thinking individuals,” shared Payne.

“It’s crucial for the Academy Software Foundation to lead by example on issues of representation in our industry, and this new succession plan for our Governing Board is an important first step toward making our leadership more inclusive. Collaborating with the D&I Working Group to develop and implement this plan was an impactful expression of the Foundation’s community-minded spirit, and we look forward to welcoming new members to our Governing Board,” added Maltz.

The Governing Board currently has 20 members, representing 18 Premier Member organizations, the General membership, and the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) membership. Starting this spring, the Governing Board plans to work with the Diversity & Inclusion Working Group to conduct an annual census of the Board to capture an up-to-date snapshot of its membership and adjust goals for representation accordingly.

For more information on the Academy Software Foundation, including the latest news and how to join, please visit: