SAG hires new chief

Former Disney Channel president John F. Cooke was named chief executive officer and national executive director of the Screen Actors Guild Monday. Cooke suggested that he himself had asked for the CEO title, which had not previously been held by a SAG leader, in order to demonstrate that he had, in his words, “the authority and responsibility to make things happen.” Although Cooke, in a conversation with reporters, indicated that he hoped to bring the union’s feuding factions together, his appointment touched off a new internal fracas as East Coast SAG exec Eileen Henry fired off a letter to SAG president William Daniels criticizing him for calling for a vote on Cooke’s appointment without giving sufficient notice to East Coast members. The vote, she said, represented “a statement of disrespect and scorn for the value of the opinions of the national board members who are not resident in Los Angeles.”