NATO Elects B&B Theatres’ Bob Bagby As Chair and Harkins Theatres’ Mike Bowers As Vice Chair

Courtesy B&B Theatres

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), hosting its Annual Meeting and Summit in Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton from October 2-5, has announced the election of new leadership on both the NATO Board and the Board of The Cinema Foundation.

At its General Membership & Board Meeting, NATO’s Executive Board of Directors elected B&B Theatres President and CEO Bob Bagby as NATO’s new Chair and Harkins Theaters President and CEO Mike Bowers as the new Vice Chair.

Bagby oversees the largest family owned and operated theater chain in the country and fifth largest in the country overall. Headquartered in Kansas City (Liberty), Missouri, B&B Theatres will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. 

“I grew up in the movie theater business,” says Bagby. “When I was starting out, our family had only 17 screens, and now we’re the largest family-run cinema chain with more than 500 screens, so I have a unique perspective on all sides of the business. It’s an honor for me to represent the dedicated and hard-working people of cinemas across the globe, and I look forward to serving the interests of our industry as we continue to bring the magic of the movies to the world.” 

NATO’s new Vice Chair, Mike Bowers, oversees the Scottsdale-based Harkins Theatres circuit and its related businesses. Mike’s 40-year career in business includes 35 years in the motion picture industry, starting with the Los Angeles-based chain Mann Theatres. Bowers joined Harkins in 1993 and is now responsible for every aspect of the organization.

“Bob Bagby is one of those people whose optimistic vision and positivity are contagious, and Mike Bowers’ passion for the industry and strategic insights are well-known,” says NATO President & CEO Michael O’Leary. “It’s a pleasure to work with these innovative leaders with decades of experience between them, and I am confident they will help steer our great industry to even greater heights.”

Also at the NATO 2023 General Membership & Board Meeting, Santikos Theaters CEO Tim Handren was elected Chair of The Cinema Foundation, a non-profit organization created by NATO to bring the exhibition, distribution, and vendor communities together for the overall benefit of the cinema industry. Salt Lake Film Society’s Tori A. Baker has been re-elected as Vice Chair. 

Handren leads the San Antonio-based Santikos Theaters during a time of significant growth for the cinema, entertainment center, and real estate company, which operates 27 venues in the Southeastern U.S. and has a real estate portfolio of 1.2 million square feet.  As a strategic advisor and serial entrepreneur, Handren has helped expand and grow dozens of companies and has previously served as the COO at USAA, a Fortune 100 financial services company.  Handren will continue to serve on the Executive Board of NATO.

Tori Baker is the President and CEO of the Salt Lake Film Society (SLFS) and cofounded the National Arthouse PSA Project, the technology platform @homeArts, and MAST (Media Accelerator Studio). 

“Both Tim and Tori have a unique understanding of the cultural and economic impact of movie theaters and their importance to the communities at large,” says The Cinema Foundation Executive Director Bryan Braunlich. “Along with the other Board members, Tim and Tori will help lead The Cinema Foundation in its mission to advance the future of the moviegoing experience.”

The Executive Board of Directors is the governing body of NATO, comprised of 20 leaders in the domestic exhibition industry. The four volunteer officers of the association are elected from and by the members of the Executive Board.

NATO’s structure is designed to encourage member participation in the activities, benefits and deliberations of the association. An Advisory Board, comprised of more than 100 representatives of the domestic and international exhibition community, deliberates on exhibition issues, and makes policy recommendations to the Executive Board of Directors.

Photo courtesy NATO; (l-r) Bob Bagby, Mike Bowers, Tim Handren, Tori A. Baker
Courtesy B&B Theatres

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