Bruce Dow, the current CEO of the SAG-Producers Pension & Health Plans and a 28-year employee of the plans, resigned today. Dow had been on medical leave since January, and has been accused of wrongdoing by former employee Craig Simmons. The trustees engaged outside counsel to investigate the allegations and announced in December that the allegations were generally baseless.
Reports from the Los Angeles Times, The Wrap, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety.
Statement from the Trustees:
It is with regret that we accept our CEO Bruce Dow’s decision to resign from employment with the Plans. For the last 28 years, Bruce has been instrumental in assisting the Trustees in designing and managing many of the benefit programs actors enjoy today. His ideas and innovation over the years have produced substantial savings for the Plans and excellent benefits for Plan participants. We greatly appreciate the work that Bruce has done for the Plans and are pleased to announce that Bruce will serve as a Consultant to the Plans.
The Board of Trustees has appointed Chris Dowdell as the Interim CEO. Chris is currently the Plans’ Chief Operating Officer and has been with the Plans for over 20 years. The Board looks forward to working with Chris in his new capacity.
According to court records, the only thing that has happened so far in the celebrated case of Simmons v. SAG-Producers Pension & Health Plans — filed with great fanfare on March 22nd — is that the plaintiff has been summoned to explain to the court why he has not filed proof of serving the complaint on the defendant.
While the Sheen v. SAG plaintiffs sought to perpetuate the mythology surrounding the 2003 “Mercer Report” as a means to block merger — a mythology, by the way, that was shattered when the actual report was published by the Hollywood Reporter earlier this year — Jonathan Handel used publicly available information to make a three-part analysis of the state of the existing AFTRA and SAG pension and health plans. The picture he paints is bleak, especially for the SAG plans. Here are the links:
Part 1: SAG Health Plan on Steep Downward Trend, While AFTRA Plan’s Changes Are Modest (Graphical Analysis)
Part 2: SAG Health Plan Income Dropping – and Pension Plan is One of the Reasons (Graphical Analysis)
Part 3: SAG’s 2008-09 Contract Stalemate Continues to Batter Its Pension and Health Plans (Graphical Analysis)
Handel points to a number of factors contributing to the SAG plans’ woes, among them the dramatic shift of television work to AFTRA starting in 2008. Missing from his analysis is an additional bit of bad news: Starting January 1, 2012, a cap on pension and health contributions from the Commercials contract kicked in for the first time.
All three parts of this story are important reading for SAG-AFTRA members.