EXCLUSIVE: The National Association of Theatre Owners’ EVP & General Counsel Jackie Brenneman has departed, several sources inform Deadline. This became effective Friday. Brenneman was also one of the founders, and the President of NATO sister org, The Cinema Foundation.
The news follows in the wake of the new administration at NATO led by new President and CEO Michael O’Leary who took over for outgoing org boss John Fithian back in May. At the end of June, NATO VP & Chief Comms Officer Patrick Corcoran departed after 24 years at the exhib org.
Brenneman was a vital lynchpin in NATO’s legislative push and rescue of shuttered theaters during Covid. She was key in seeing that smaller theaters received funds, loans and paycheck protection, working extensively with Fithian. During Covid, her duties included lobbying, legislative strategy and drafting. She was involved regularly reviewing, interpreting, and communicating regulations, application processes, and best practices to the organization’s exhibition members.
Brenneman, an NYU alum and UC Irvine Law School grad, joined NATO in 2014 as Counsel and Director of Industry Relations. She was promoted to General Counsel and Director of Industry relations at NATO in 2018, and was promoted again to EVP & General Counsel in December 2021.
Brenneman and others at NATO launched the Cinema Foundation in late 2021 with a mission to provide shared, unbiased data between exhibitors and studios on the state of the industry. She became the org’s founding president. Part of this came out of the theatrical day-and-date debate, a model which studios leaned on when a majority of cinemas were closed during the pandemic. The Cinema Foundation is also behind National Cinema Day, which is having its second annual edition this Sunday when there’s discounted admissions for all movies at over 3,000 participating theaters and 30,000 screens. Tickets for all shows and formats will be no more than $4. The Cinema Foundation was also involved in diversity initiatives in exhibition. The Cinema Foundation was also involved in exhibition technology and innovation initiatives, spearheading pilot projects that support the mission and growth of the industry in areas such as accessibility, audience insights, theatrical presentation, and more.
No successor has been named following Brenneman’s departure.
NATO did not return request for comment.