SAG negotiators have been telling me for months that Nick Counter has looked increasingly unwell, and Carol Lombardini (who joined the AMPTP 30 years ago when he did) has taken the lead position in that union’s negotiations. What’s surprising here is the implication that Lombardini isn’t being considered for Counter’s job permanently. Some thought she had it in the bag. I’ll have more on this breaking story later. But, for now, here’s the AMPTP announcement:

February 27, 2009 (Los Angeles) – The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced today that long-time AMPTP President Nick Counter will retire, as expected, following the expiration of his five-year contract on March 31, 2009.  Following his retirement, Counter will serve as a consultant to the AMPTP on all labor matters including the SAG negotiations. Counter has served as AMPTP President for 27 years and was the chief negotiator for 311 major labor pacts, including six in 2008 with the DGA, WGA, AFTRA, Casting Directors and IATSE. Counter’s current contract was renegotiated in 2004 for an additional five years, plus five years as a consultant to the AMPTP upon retirement.  A search is currently underway for Counter’s successor. Carol Lombardini, AMPTP executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, will serve as acting President of the AMPTP.

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