Dan Glickman, a former House Democrat from Kansas who was agriculture secretary in the Clinton Administration, was named Thursday to replace lobbying legend Jack Valenti as boss of the Motion Picture Association of America.
The seven Hollywood studios settled on Glickman after a search that reviewed qualifications of about two dozen candidates, including former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria (Torie) Clarke, now a consultant with Comcast Corp.
Valenti, 82, left the Johnson White House in 1966 to take the MPAA job. More than a year ago, he signaled he was prepared to retire. Glickman, 59, becomes MPAA's president and CEO effective Sept. 1.
“I hope to be half the guy Jack Valenti has been,” said Glickman, who's stepping into a post that pays about $1 million annually and come with a lots of perks. He's currently director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and a teacher at the Kennedy School of Government.
Valenti, a diminutive power broker known for his sharp prose and colorful oratory, has long been referred to as Washington's highest-paid lobbyist. He is probably best known as creator and proud defender of the MPAA movie rating system put in place in 1968.
With the advent of file sharing over the Internet, Valenti decided to push government officials here and abroad to crack down on Internet film piracy that MPAA says helps drain $3.5 billion per year. But critics say Valenti is trying to encroach on hard-won home-recording rights.
Valenti years ago told a congressional committee: “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.”
It turned out the VCR drove home-video sales and produced billions in new revenue for the studios.