John Ford is exiting his role as general manager of the producers’ association NPACT, where Head of Policy and Development Michelle Van Kempen is stepping in as interim general manager during the search for a permanent replacement.
Ford joined the trade organization as general manager in 2015, when it was known as the Nonfiction Producers Association (NPA). During his tenure at NPACT, he helped grow the scale and prestige of the group, which helps producers tackle their business challenges and share successful strategies. Ford is leaving NPACT due to potential conflicts of interest arising from the recent sale of Justice Network and Quest Network, where he serves as head of programming.
The NPACT executive committee said in a statement: “John has been a peerless leader, helping transform a nascent organization with big dreams—and many strong, rowdy opinions—into a mature powerhouse association. With some exciting opportunities on the horizon, John made the difficult decision to step down; he has our immense gratitude and best wishes for the future. During the transition, we know NPACT will be in great hands with Michelle Van Kempen whose contributions have encompassed not just outreach to the community and expanding our membership, but creating opportunities and access to innovative companies and services from which we all benefit.”
Ford said: “It has been an honor to work with the creative entrepreneurs who literally built the unscripted business from scratch. The challenges of independent production are unrelenting, and to see the fellowship among NPACT members is truly humbling. I couldn’t be prouder of my time with NPACT and know Michelle and the team will continue moving the association forward with great energy and innovation.”
Van Kempen added: “In five short years, the organization’s roster has grown from the eight founding members of the NPA to the force it is today, with more than 100 NPACT member companies. John brought invaluable leadership and insights to NPACT through this period of tremendous growth. We’re bullish on the future as we build on John’s accomplishments by continuing to expand our services and to welcome new creators and entrepreneurs into the fold.”