Eric Roth, the longtime executive director of the Visual Effects Society, is retiring after nearly 19 years on the job, effective September 30.
“At this time in my life, while being mindful of some underlying health issues, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, traveling, and pursuing my next chapter,” he said in a letter announcing his pending retirement (read it below). “Since I’m about to turn 65 in a few weeks and as we are currently celebrating the Society’s milestone 25th Anniversary, this seems like the right time to make a transition and usher in the next leader who will carry us forward.”
Founded in 1997, the Visual Effects Society is an honorary society with some 4,400 members in 45 countries that’s dedicated to advancing the art, science and application of visual effects. For the past 20 years it’s held its annual VES Awards for artistry and innovation in film, animation, television, commercials, video games and special venues.
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“We have been exceptionally proud and fortunate to have a leader of Eric’s caliber, possessed with such passion, integrity and vision – and the unparalleled skills needed to drive this dynamic organization forward,” said VES chair Lisa Cooke. “As my colleague and friend, Eric is the kind of collaborator, mentor and cheerleader you always hope to work with. Eric has done transformational work in growing the Society into this rich global community, and he leaves an enormous legacy for us to carry forward.” Cooke and the VES board’s executive committee has created a search committee that will find Roth’s successor.
Here’s Roth’s letter about his upcoming retirement:
Dear Friends and Colleagues –
For almost 19 years, it has been my privilege to serve as the Executive Director of the VES. Working with all of you – our extraordinary volunteer leaders serving on the Board to represent our worldwide membership, and certainly the six people who have held the title of Chair – has been a true honor and the pinnacle of my professional career. And now, it is with mixed emotions, that I am announcing my retirement, effective September 30 of this year.
At this time in my life, while being mindful of some underlying health issues, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, traveling, and pursuing my next chapter. Since I’m about to turn 65 in a few weeks (time certainly does fly by!), and as we are currently celebrating the Society’s milestone 25th Anniversary, this seems like the right time to make a transition and usher in the next leader who will carry us forward.
Truly, my time with VES has been filled with many points of pride and accomplishments – we rolled out our award-winning VFX Voice magazine five years ago, created three editions of the VES Handbook of Visual Effects, produced 20 years of our amazing VES Awards Show, hosted our yearly VES Honors and Hall of Fame Program and delivered a robust roster of top-notch programming and online content.
But more than that, we have created a “voice” for our industry and Society over these years by working together with a common purpose. Although we are an honorary society, we have found our power – our voice – when we convene industry leaders on vital topics, or issue important whitepapers on the status of the industry or the latest technology. And when we announce the yearly winners of our fabulous VES Awards Show, the industry really takes notice! At the end of the day, I believe that VFX is the beating heart of the worldwide entertainment industry and if you want the best visuals in your show – and who doesn’t? – you want to get to know the VES.
We are an organization that runs on “volunteer passion.” So many extraordinarily talented people have voluntarily given up their nights and weekends in service to VES over the years. I – and the Society – know we’ll never be able to fully repay or acknowledge all that you’ve done. Just know, you are truly appreciated in ways that are deeply felt for all the contributions you’ve all made. In fact, our volunteer committees continue to do vital work in service to our members and the worldwide VFX community, including creating industry-leading mental health benefits, mentoring programs, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, forward-looking technology projects, a video archive and a soon-to-be-realized VFX digital museum, and exclusive opportunities that foster education and professional development.
To be honest, the achievement that truly stands out to me is the sheer growth of VES’ membership and reach … bound together in a worldwide community. Said another way, we are now truly global. When I assumed this role, we were about 750 people, mostly situated in California; now we have more than 4,400 members in 45 countries and 14 sections worldwide. I will proudly count our global expansion and influence as the most important part of the legacy I leave behind.
This summer, I will be working with all of you to continue raising the profile and recognition of the VES and the industry, while paving the way for the leader who will succeed me and take the VES to ever-new heights. The Board’s Executive Committee, under Lisa Cooke’s leadership, has just created a Search Committee that will shortly begin the process to identify the next Executive Director. I know they will share more with you as this endeavor unfolds.
In closing, it has been my highest honor to serve as your Executive Director for nearly two decades. Thank you for entrusting me with this responsibility. I am more grateful than you will ever know. I also thank you for your leadership and integrity, your support and your friendship and look forward to hearing all about the great things yet to come for VES! All my best.
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