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Ann Mather, former Pixar chief financial officer, expected to join MGM board [Updated]

November 30, 2010 |  2:42 pm

Ann Mather, the former chief financial officer of Pixar Animation Studios, will likely join the new board of directors of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, people familiar with the matter said.

MGM's creditors, who will own nearly all of the struggling studio's equity when it exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy soon, are finalizing a nine-member board to steer the reorganized company. Mather, who worked at Village Roadshow before joining Pixar, also sits on the boards of Netflix and Google.

One possibility under consideration is that Mather will become MGM's board chairman, the people close to the matter said.

Mather has yet to officially be confirmed to join the board. A message left at a phone number listed under her name was not returned.

Last week, MGM named seven other directors in court filings, including soon-to-be chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum from Spyglass Entertainment, former CBS chief financial officer Fred Reynolds, former MySpace president Jason Hirschhorn, and three representatives from hedge funds that own large chunks of MGM debt.

Carl Icahn, who owns about 18% of MGM's debt, has already named his representative to the board: Christopher Pucillo, the founder of Solus Alternative Asset Management. When Pucillo's name was disclosed last week, it was widely reported that he took his seat because of Solus' ownership of MGM debt. However, people close to the situation confirmed that he was in fact Icahn's pick.

Pucillo did not respond to a request for comment.

Since leaving Pixar in 2004, two years before the animation studio was acquired by The Walt Disney Co., Mather has not taken another executive position, but instead joined the boards of several prominent media and technology companies.

Her position as a Netflix director could present a potential conflict should she join MGM, as the studio is a content provider to the video subscription company.

Mather brings extensive experience in film finance, which could help bolster MGM's credibility after years of poor financial performance that led to its current bankruptcy. She served as CFO of Pixar for five years and, prior to that, briefly held the same position at Village Roadshow Pictures. Between 1993 and 1999 she held various finance executive positions at Disney.

MGM's debt owners are holding meetings this week in advance of a hearing on Thursday where a federal bankruptcy judge is expected to approve the studio's restructuring plan. Then MGM needs to close a $500-million debt facility being arranged by JPMorgan to fund its operations and film production, after which it will restart business operations under the leadership of Barber and Birnbaum.

-- Ben Fritz and Claudia Eller


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[Updated at 5:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said Mather worked at Village Roadshow from 1993 to 1999.]