Broadcast – Three in the Running for Chair of Pact Council Including Outline’s Laura Mansfield

Sara Geater, Cat Lewis and Laura Mansfield are battling it out to become Pact council chair in the organisation’s first contested election in at least 14 years.

The former Fremantle Media UK boss, Nine Lives’ founder and Outline Productions’ managing director are campaigning for votes from Pact members who are qualifying indies.

The ballot, which is managed independently by The Electoral Reform Society, opened on 10 November and will close on 4 December, with the successful candidate being unveiled at Pact’s AGM on 10 December.

The winner of the election will replace Keo Films managing director Debbie Manners, who is stepping down after five years as chair of the council, having served her term. Previous chairs include Hartswood Films chairman Beryl Vertue, Warner Bros executive Andrew Zein and Shed co-founder Eileen Gallagher.

It will be a crucial time for the incoming chair, who will have a voice on many of the issues facing the indie sector, including BBC charter renewal and ToT negotiations.

Geater, Lewis and Mansfield are circulating manifesto-style documents setting out what they will bring to the part-time role. Geater said she would use her experience at C4, ITV, the BBC and Fremantle to help Pact “face some very big issues in 2015/16”. Lewis said she will fight Channel 4 and BBC plans to overhaul terms of trade, while Mansfield played up her experience of running Outline for the past 15 years and argued she will be an advocate for all indies.

Pact chief executive John McVay said: “This is the first contested chair election during my time at Pact. It’s great to see three strong candidates.”

Alongside the Pact chair election, several indie execs have put themselves forward to become members of the council for the first time. The council’s new line-up will also be revealed at the AGM.