ITVS controller Michael Shiro dies at 59

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Michael Shiro, controller of ITVS, died of cancer Oct. 22. He was 59.

Shiro joined the San Francisco organization as a consultant in 1998 to help with an annual audit and stuck around, commuting to the office on one of the 14 vintage motorcycles in his collection. A CPA with Big Six accounting firm and nonprofit experience, Shiro helped ITVS grow in the aughts and beyond from 20 to 70 staff.

He brought analytical acumen, ethical rigor and humor to the sober business of managing the federal public funds that supported 1,000-plus independent documentary filmmakers over his tenure. Shiro ensured that artists could create by building trust in ITVS’ financial systems and reporting.

“Michael knew what was important to ITVS and fiercely protected it by shaping and enforcing policy when it may not have been the easiest path forward,” said John Cheng, ITVS CFO. “We owe the team’s stellar reputation in large part to his diligence and professionalism.”

There was nil chance that Shiro, a Chuck Taylors–clad embodiment of integrity and soul, a painter and lifelong surfer, would blend in with the government officials who visited ITVS in 2009 for a routine Office of the Inspector General audit. But he earned their respect and a clean report over the two-month process.

“Michael never failed to put his best work and self behind our mission,” said Garry Denny, board chair and director of programming at PBS Wisconsin. “We’re incredibly indebted for his dedicated service.”

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