After only 10 days on the job, Screen Actors Guild CEO and national executive director John F. Cooke has quit, Variety reports. Cooke cited infighting among top officials as his reason for leaving the post and made his announcement through a PR firm. In a statement, he blames nine of the SAG's 107-member body for putting him in a position where his authority was never made clear. On June 26, the nine board members sent Cooke a letter objecting to his being named CEO as well as that as national executive director. The letter stated that while the nine were delighted at his appointment, amending the SAG constitution was a hasty and irresponsible move and asked that Cooke not to accept the CEO title until a more thoughtful amendment be drafted.
Some of the nine board members are shocked at Cooke's departure and say the letter was not meant to discourage him from becoming CEO. The letter was drafted with the help of former SAG president Richard Masur, who lost the election to William Daniels two years ago.
According to Variety, Cooke said the guild needed to get its own house in order before seeking a CEO. Sag has been without a national executive director since Ken Orsatti retired in January. SAG's search committee will now have to choose a new candidate from six undisclosed finalists.