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MPAA Taps Glickman to Succeed Valenti

Dan Glickman will be Hollywood’s new man in Washington.

The Motion Picture Association of America has scheduled an afternoon press conference to announce that the former Clinton administration official and nine-term Democratic House Member from Kansas will replace longtime lobbyist Jack Valenti as the president and chief executive officer of the influential trade association.

By choosing Glickman, the movie industry is bucking the recent trend among top lobbying outfits to appoint Republicans to senior-level lobbying positions.

Glickman edged out former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, a Republican, who was reportedly the other finalist.

Insiders now peg Clarke as the leading candidate to take over for Robert Sachs, a Democrat, who is retiring as head of the nation’s cable lobby at the end of the year.

The MPAA’s announcement today caps a tumultuous search for a new head to replace Valenti, the charismatic former aide to President Lyndon Johnson who ran the industry’s Washington operations for almost four decades.

In the last six months, two prominent retiring Members of Congress rejected offers to take over the MPAA job.

In January, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, snubbed the MPAA after a year-long courtship.

A month later, Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) said he was not interested in the post, despite its salary of more than a $1 million a year.

After those two failures, the MPAA hired the search firm Spencer Stuart to work with an executive committee that included representatives from such industry giants as Viacom, Walt Disney and News Corp.

MPAA’s members include MGM, Universal Studios, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony and Twentieth Century Fox.

Glickman landed the job after his former boss, President Bill Clinton, put in a good word for him with several movie-industry executives, industry sources said.

Glickman served as Agriculture secretary for six years beginning in 1995 after he was defeated for re-election by now-Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.)

First elected to Congress in 1977, Glickman was vying for his 10th term in office when he was swept up in the Republican landslide of 1994 that put the GOP in control of Congress for the first time in decades.

While on Capitol Hill, Glickman served on the Judiciary Committee, the panel with a lot of sway over the movie industry.

Glickman has spent the last two years at Harvard University, where he served as the head of the Institute of Politics.

Though he has never worked in the movie industry, Glickman enjoys a pesonal interest in the field: His son is a Hollywood producer.

Glickman will turn 60 in November.

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