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WME’s global head of music Marc Geiger exits talent agency

Marc Geiger at a podium at the 59th GRAMMY Awards - Entertainment Law Initiative in Beverly Hills in February 2017
Marc Geiger gives the keynote at the Grammy Foundation’s Entertainment Law Initiative luncheon in February 2017.
(Jesse Grant/WireImage)

Marc Geiger, a partner and worldwide head of music for William Morris Endeavor, has left the Beverly Hills talent agency as the entertainment industry continues to grapple with the suspension of concerts due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Geiger’s exit is one of several changes in WME’s music department. Sara Newkirk Simon, co-head of the department, will be moving to a consulting role at parent company Endeavor. The department will now be led by Scott Clayton, Lucy Dickins and Kirk Sommer. The agency’s music roster includes artists like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars.

Geiger joined WME in 2003. During his tenure, he created the agency’s festivals and EDM divisions and built out its London and Sydney, Australia, music teams, said Lloyd Braun, president of Endeavor’s representation businesses.

“Under Marc’s leadership, WME’s Music division has become a global powerhouse,” Braun said in a statement.

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Speculation about Endeavor’s future has been rife for months. Many wonder whether the biggest, brashest talent agency owner, which recently announced a round of furloughs and layoffs, can weather the current crisis.

A WME spokeswoman did not immediately respond to what prompted the leadership changes or what Geiger plans to do next.

“I’m proud of all that we accomplished, most especially the team we built during my time with the agency,” Geiger said in a statement. “I know they will achieve great things in the future.”

The live music industry has had to make significant adjustments in light of the pandemic, as concerts and festivals have been postponed or canceled. WME’s parent company, Endeavor, said it would lay off, furlough or cut hours of one-third of its employees. Last month, WME implemented cost reductions that affected 20% of its roughly 1,500 employees.

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Some industry observers have raised questions about Endeavor’s debt load. Its planned 2019 IPO was pulled due to market conditions and there have been rumors about the company’s health, including whether it would be sold for parts or file for bankruptcy.

“There are so many ... rumors,” Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, told the L.A. Times last month, categorizing the talk as “fiction” and denying plans for a reorganization or bankruptcy.

Other talent agencies have also made cuts in salaries, including United Talent Agency and Creative Artists Agency.

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ICM Partners on Friday said it would lay off 40 of its support staff and raise the wages of its assistants to $20 an hour, up from $15 an hour. Company leaders said in a memo that the decision was part of an effort to make the company more efficient and to improve its assistants program.

“As we next turn our attention to our carefully constructed return to work plan, we must acknowledge that with the efficiencies of technology and the need to remap and re-imagine our workplaces, the functional realities of our business have changed,” said co-presidents Sloan Harris and Kevin Crotty in a memo to staffers Friday. “Agents and executives operate much more independently than ever before.”

The company said it is striving to make its agent trainee program for assistants more rigorous and create a faster track to agent and executive status. ICM says it will eliminate menial tasks for assistants like the personal business of agents or anything approaching errands. ICM also said that it will aim to hire diverse candidates for at least half of its open positions.


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