New York (Dec. 11, 2015) -- SAG-AFTRA today announced the promotion of Jeffrey Bennett to the role of New York Local executive director effective Jan. 1, 2016. Bennett will act as the primary liaison among the New York elected leadership, the membership at large and the professional staff, and oversee all administrative functions of the New York office.
Bennett moves into this position with a wealth of experience at SAG-AFTRA. As the current chief deputy general counsel, legal and government affairs — a role in which he will continue to serve — his primary duties have included oversight of legal matters, providing advice and counsel to executive staff and elected leaders, and public policy advocacy.
Prior to his current position, Bennett served as deputy general counsel, counsel, case manager, and business representative for SAG-AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild. He began work at the union in 2001, and his duties have encompassed a wide variety of matters, with a focus on contract enforcement, secured transactions and policy advocacy. He played a pivotal role in SAG’s landmark film foreclosure project, where, for the first time, the union used its security interests in films to effectuate payment of uncollected arbitration awards.
SAG-AFTRA New York Local President Mike Hodge served on the search committee and said, “Jeffrey brings with him a deep knowledge of SAG-AFTRA contracts, policy advocacy, and the New York Local and its diverse membership. He is well equipped to oversee our local’s day-to-day business and, on behalf of the New York Local Board and membership, I welcome him as our new executive director.”
“I am very excited to continue my work at SAG-AFTRA in this new role and to continue to build on all the wonderful work done since the historic merger of SAG and AFTRA,” said Bennett. “There is much to do and I look forward to working with President Hodge, the New York Local Board and the New York membership to accomplish great things for SAG-AFTRA.”
Prior to his work at the union, Bennett worked in business affairs for the William Morris Agency (now William Morris Endeavor), and as a partner in the law firm of Bennett Callie & Helmer. He was also an adjunct professor of entertainment law at Western State University College of Law.
Bennett received his Bachelor of Arts in history from Wittenberg University and his Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School. He received the Judge Barry Russell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Federal Courts and Practice, presented by the Federal Bar Association. He is currently licensed to practice law in New York, California and the District of Columbia.
He currently serves as a BookPAL for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, a program designed to encourage and improve reading skills for elementary school children.