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HomeEntertainmentNATO technology adviser Jerry Pierce resigns over staff shake-up (exclusive)

NATO technology adviser Jerry Pierce resigns over staff shake-up (exclusive)


The National Association of Theater Owners has lost another team member following the departure of exec vp and general counsel Jackie Brenneman Friday, who was ousted, sources say.

Now, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Jerry Pierce, who has been a NATO technical adviser since 2012, resigned in protest on Monday.

The ongoing upheaval comes just a few months after the departure of NATO chief John Fithian, who stepped down at the end of April after more than 30 years with the association. His successor, Michael O’Leary, took over as head of NATO on May 1. At the end of June, NATO Vice President and Chief of Communications, Patrick Corcoran, left his post after a 24-year stint.

THR received a copy of Pierce’s letter of resignation, in which he states: “Michael O’Leary’s selection and subsequent leadership of NATO is my primary motivation for stepping down. … I am very disappointed in his lack of interest and lack of respect for the knowledge and experience of his staff.”

He adds: “I am also concerned that NATO appears to be moving away from Hollywood. I hope this is not considered as all technology efforts and many critical topics for exhibitions center around Hollywood.”

The letter does not elaborate on what Pierce means by the fear that NATO will pull out of Hollywood.

On Brenneman’s ouster, the letter reads: “Michael O’Leary’s removal of Jackie Brenneman, one of the most dedicated, hard-working and insightful members of the NATO team, was confirmation of Michael’s lack of understanding of the complexities of NATO’s ecosystem. I don’t understand the logic behind the removal of such an important contributor to the exhibition industry.”

NATO declined to comment on this story.

Brenneman, who was one of the candidates to replace Fithian before the job was offered to O’Leary, joined NATO in 2014, first as an advisor and director of industrial relations.

Previously, she served as general counsel to the Global Cinema Federation.

A Hollywood technology insider, Pierce is a former senior vice president at Universal and was among the Hollywood leaders who helped guide the transition from film to digital cinema projection. He remains chairman of the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum, an organization he helped found in 2006 to support the launch of digital cinema. NATO is one of the sponsoring organizations of ISDCF.

On Monday, The Cinema Foundation announced that the second National Film Day will take place on Aug. 27, highlighting the role of films and offering discounted admission to participating U.S. theaters across all formats, which will not exceed $4.

Ironically, the champion of the National Film Day was Brenneman, who also chaired the Cinema Foundation, a NATO non-profit organization. Brenneman said in a statement Monday: “We look forward to going to the movies together and celebrating.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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