The newly formed SAG-AFTRA board of directors has confirmed David White as the merged union's sole national executive director.
The national board of SAG-AFTRA voted overwhelmingly Sunday to select White for the job, approving a new three-year contract. White, the former Screen Actors Guild executive director, was expected to assume the new position as the chief administrative officer for the union of about 160,000 members. He had been serving as co-national executive director with former American Federation of Television and Radio Artists leader Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, who announced last month that she was resigning.
"I'm thrilled about the prospect of helping to build this new organization and grateful for the board's vote of confidence,'' White said in an interview.
The 43-year-old former entertainment industry attorney and general counsel for SAG was hired as its executive director on an interim basis in January 2009, replacing Doug Allen. Allen had been ousted from the job after clashing with board members. White was officially named to the position in October of that year.
White led SAG through a nearly two-year process to merge with AFTRA, the smaller performers union. The merger was approved in a referendum vote March 31.
Also at its first meeting Sunday, the board approved a $95-million budget for the coming year and agreed to allocate funds from its reserves to cover costs of upcoming contract negotiations this fall for work in commercials.
SAG-AFTRA, which has about 630 employees, is facing a deficit of $2.7 million related to one-time transition costs tied to the merger of the unions. Union officials expect about a 10% reduction in staff this year through attrition.