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John Cooke Won't Take SAG Post

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John Cooke Won't Take SAG Post

John Cooke, chosen last month as director of the Screen Actors Guild, has decided against taking the post because of a disagreement about his job responsibilities.

Cooke had been appointed to an expanded leader's post as chief executive officer and national executive director, replacing national director Ken Orsatti, who retired.

Cooke said Thursday that after he was named to the job, he received a letter from nine members of SAG's board stating that the duties listed in his appointment violated the union's constitution.

The letter said the full board needed to debate Cooke's job title and responsibilities.

Cooke said it would be inappropriate for him to accept the job "without clear authority to act on all the issues that are before the SAG management and organization."

"To search for a leader without the ability to give him or her clear CEO authority as well as a clear mandate is a recipe for failure," Cooke said.

SAG spokesman Greg Krizman said he had not spoken directly with Cooke but understood that he would not be joining the guild.

A former Walt Disney Co. executive, Cooke has been executive vice president for external affairs at the J. Paul Getty Trust since last year. Before that, he was on the group's board of trustees for four years.

Cooke said he already resigned his post to take the guild job and still plans to leave the Getty Trust in September.

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