*The Television Academy made history on Thursday with the election of its first African American chairman.
Hayma “Screech” Washington was voted in to replace longtime chair Bruce Rosenblum, who held the role since 2011, having extended his term in July 2015 during the Academy’s recent $40 million fundraising campaign, reports Variety.
The Academy is best-known for handing out the annual Emmy Awards in September.
Washington has served as a governor in the producers branch for the last five years. He runs his own production company banner, Screechers Pix, and was an executive producer for CBS’ “Amazing Race,” which earned him seven Emmy Awards, along with a Producers Guild Award. He’s also worked for Walt Disney Studios, Buena Vista Domestic and International Productions, and Don Ohlmeyer Communications Company. His producing credits include the 39th Emmy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the ESPYs.
“I am honored to have been selected to lead the Academy and look forward to serving our membership alongside the governors, executive committee, Foundation and staff,” said Washington. “This is a time of considerable change for our industry and I am deeply committed to ensuring that the Academy is at the forefront as we move towards a more inclusive future.”
Washington will serve a two-year term. Existing officers and governors are normally limited to two consecutive two-year terms, but the rules were changed given the construction of the recently opened Saban Media Center and Wolf Theatre on the Academy’s campus in North Hollywood.
Washington ran for the position opposite Kevin Hamburger.