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SAG chief fired after just six months

CEO Hessinger ousted in battle over whether to merge actors' unions
/ Source: The Associated Press

The executive director of the Screen Actors Guild was fired by the guild’s board of directors after only six months on the job.

The board voted Sunday to fire Greg Hessinger as national executive director and chief executive officer. Chief Financial Officer Peter Frank was named interim director.

The union, which represents 100,000 actors, has been split in recent years on the issue of merging with the other major actors union and whether to take an aggressive stance in negotiations with producers.

The decision was announced by SAG president Alan Rosenberg, who represents a faction of members that opposes merging with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The merger was rejected by SAG members two years ago.

Hessinger was hired by previous president Melissa Gilbert and he supported a merger.

“It is probably the most unethical and dishonorable thing I’ve ever seen done here,” said actor Paul Christie, head of SAG’s New York branch.

Rosenberg said SAG has “great respect” for Hessinger. However, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported that Hessinger was not offered the $1.6 million remaining on his contract.

In a statement, Hessinger said he expected the terms of his contract to be enforced and if SAG leaders “choose not to do so, I will take all steps necessary to enforce my rights.”