Veteran PR exec Heather Conway will step down as executive director and co-president of the prestigious Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Festival in Toronto after five months in the post.

Her departure on May 13 will follow Hot Docs’ 2022 edition wrapping on May 8. Conway, the former executive vp of English language services at CBC/Radio Canada, the country’s public broadcaster, assumed the top management post at North America’s largest documentary festival on Nov. 4, 2021.

She formerly served as CEO of Edelman Canada, executive vp marketing and communications at former film producer and broadcaster Alliance Atlantis Communications and vp of TD Bank Financial.

On March 30, Conway led a press conference at the Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto ahead of the festival’s return to an in-person event amid the pandemic set to kick off on April 28. “In my first year leading this extraordinary organization, I’m thrilled to be able to welcome audiences and filmmakers back to Toronto cinemas to share in the incredible stories at this year’s festival,” Conway told the presser.

On Thursday, two weeks ahead of its 2022 festival, Hot Docs said Conway will leave as the organization’s top executive officer and take on a “new advisory role on strategic planning” as long-time festival president Chris McDonald assumes sole leadership of the organization.

And Erin Lau, Hot Docs managing director, and Paul Lewis, conference director of World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, have been named as interim co-executive directors of the festival.

Conway and McDonald could not be reached for comment on the abrupt senior management changes at Hot Docs.

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