The first Black chairman and CEO of the Television Academy has decided to leave his position.
Hayma Washington was elected as the first African American chairman to the post in November 2016, succeeding Bruce Rosenblum who held the role for five years. Since Washington’s election, he’s overseen two Emmy telecasts, a new code of conduct for members and the academy has secured an eight-year contract with the four major networks that broadcast the Emmy Awards in rotation.
However, Washington will not be seeking a second two-year term with the Academy and has chosen to focus on producing and advocating for diversity and inclusion.
“As I looked back at what we’ve accomplished, I couldn’t be prouder and it just felt for me as a professional and personally it was time to move on,” Washington told Variety. “I’m an independent producer and as you sit in that position, you really are limited in some of the things you can do with your agendas, and mine being exclusion and inclusion and diversity. I just felt that as an independent producer, if I could get back out into that arena, I could just be so much more effective in what was personally important to me.”
The chairman said once his term expires with the Academy, he plans to return back as a producer full time. “I have to be honest,” said Washington. “Whenever I considered what I was suited for, it always came to mind that I had to be mindful of my responsibility to the Academy as far as taking a job that would send me out of the country for long periods of time.”
The chairman’s decision follows shortly before the Academy’s upcoming elections of new officers and governors in Nov. He gave potential candidates a few words of advice and said it’s a “great opportunity to be of service” for those coming from “an honest place.”
Washington worked as an executive producer for “Amazing Racing” on CBS and has producing credits from the ESPYs and the MTV Video Music Awards. He told the news outlet, “I’m leaving the academy in good shape.”