Veteran TV director, Paris Barclay, made history last Saturday when the Directors Guild of America elected him head of the union. “Paris’ qualifications for DGA president are exceptional,” asserted past president, Michael Apted, while nominating Barclay.  “His understanding of the issues facing directors and their teams is outstanding, and his ability to resolve problems and create solutions is beyond compare.”  Besides serving four terms on the national board as first vice president, and co-chairing the union’s Diversity Committee since 2004, Barclay’s prolific directing credits include Sons of Anarchy, Glee, NYPD Blue, as well as NCIS: Los Angeles. On top of that, with ten DGA Award nominations for outstanding direction in drama and comedy in television, two Emmy Awards for directing NYPD Blue, as well as four other Emmy nominations for directing and producing, Barclay ran unopposed and with enthusiastic approval.

“I am profoundly honored to be elected president of the DGA,” Barclay expressed to delegates at the guild’s biennial convention in Los Angeles. “The DGA has worked for more than three-quarters of a century to advance the creative and economic rights of directors and their teams, and I look forward to continuing this strong tradition of service. As the son of a glass blower and a tile maker from Chicago, I am extremely humbled to have the honor to serve in the footsteps of the legendary leaders of the DGA like Frank Capra, Robert Wise and Gil Cates.”

While interviewed, Barclay commented the guild’s decision to elect him demonstrated its collective commitment to diversity. “It’s not surprising that more and more of our members are of different colors and different genders,” he said. “The more important question is,why aren’t the studios and the networks doing a better job as far as hiring talented women and minorities?”

One of his initial tasks will be to help negotiate a new film and television contract between the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Producers, which has been known to set the bargaining tone for other Hollywood unions. Paris Barclay’s election could signal broadening opportunities for an increasingly diverse talent pool.