Christine Essel has been appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the city’s Board of Airport Commissioners.

Essel, former senior vice president of government and community affairs for Paramount Pictures, brings more than 30 years of experience in business and civic leadership to the airport commission.

She takes over for commissioner Sylvia Reyes-Patsaouras, who was appointed in 2005.

During her years at Paramount Pictures, Essel was charged with overseeing its real estate development activities and public affairs agenda at the state and local levels.

Considered a leader in civic life, Essel has played a prominent role in advancing the interests of the entertainment industry in her recent position as chair of the California Film Commission, a post she held for nine consecutive years, Villaraigosa said. She continues to remain a member of the commission.

Essel has also served on the FilmLA Board since its inception, and will begin her term as first vice-president of the board in 2009. FilmLA works to support and retain film, television and commercial production in the Los Angeles region.

Essel has represented the interests of the Southern California business community after having served the past two years as chair of the Central City Association. In addition, she has served as vice-chair of the California Workforce Investment Board since 2000 and

was recently appointed to the California Tourism and Entertainment Advisory Committee.

The new airport commissioner has been honored as the City of Hope Woman of the Year and has received the Community Leader Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus. Essel received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Redlands in business administration.