The Academy announced in January the appointment of publicity veteran and former Paramount exec Fernando Garcia to the position. Although its release at the time said he was slated to start February 8, he never did. There is no mention of him in today’s release about Finnie, and sources simply tell me “the Academy did not proceed with employment.” The position officially has been vacant since Lorenza Munoz left AMPAS in September to join Amazon Studios as the streamer’s Senior Global Awards Executive.
Finnie, who will report to Simmons, has been with AMPAS for eight years, most recently as senior director of the department where he has now been promoted to the top spot. He knows the territory well. He will lead engagement and outreach initiatives for the organization’s global membership of more than 10,000 artists, filmmakers and executives and oversee Academy Awards processes for submissions, rules and voting. He will lead a team of more than 20 staff and work closely with the Academy’s Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity and the Branch Executive Committees on member representation and inclusion efforts.
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“Shawn is a unique and innovative leader. He brings to this position the collaborative, solution-oriented and engaging style that has driven results throughout his time at the Academy,” said Simmons. “His efforts to foster greater representation and connectivity among the global membership, expand how we serve our members and strengthen relationships within the greater film community have been and will continue to be invaluable to the organization and the industry as a whole.”
In his previous role, he was responsible for member outreach and engagement, industry relations and amplifying the Academy’s initiatives in representation and inclusion. He oversaw branch committees and membership initiatives for Actors, Casting Directors, Marketing and Public Relations, Artists’ Representatives and Associates. Finnie played a key role in such events as the Governors Awards and the Academy Women’s Luncheon and led efforts to deliver a personal and seamless experience for each Oscar nominee.
Last summer, as part of the Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, he also helped launch “Academy Dialogues: It Starts with Us,” a conversation series focused on race, ethnicity, gender, history, opportunity and the art of filmmaking.