WME names new chairmen of talent agency
Beverly Hills-based WME on Thursday promoted two longtime executives to lead the talent agency as co-chairmen.
WME partner Richard Weitz and Christian Muirhead, chief communications officer at Endeavor, WME’s parent company, were named as co-chairmen of one of Hollywood’s major talent agencies.
“I’ve seen first-hand their innate ability to lead, to build meaningful relationships, and to leverage the broader Endeavor network in service to our clients’ aspirations,” Endeavor President Mark Shapiro said in a statement.
The agency’s current chairman, Lloyd Braun, will step down from his role at the end of the year, when his contract is up. Braun, a veteran TV executive, joined WME in 2019.
Part of his role was to help the company better service clients in areas such as podcasts, books, live events, TV and licensing. He helped guide the agency during the pandemic, when live events and productions were suspended or canceled, causing many talent agencies to lay off staff and cut salaries.
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.
He also served in the position when WME’s parent company, Endeavor, launched its IPO last year and became a publicly-traded company. In the second quarter, Endeavor reported $1.3 billion in revenue, up 18% from a year earlier.
Shapiro thanked Braun in a statement on Thursday, for “setting the agency on course for its best financial year on record.”
“Lloyd has left an indelible mark on WME and laid a strong foundation for the future,” Shapiro said in a statement.
The leadership changes come as the entertainment industry continues to consolidate and WME faces competition from rivals.
Creative Artists Agency in June closed on its deal to acquire ICM Partners, seen as the fourth-largest talent agency, significantly increasing CAA’s presence in sports representation. WME will also have to fend off competitors from poaching their agents.
Century City-based Creative Artist Agency buys ICM Partners for an undisclosed price.
Weitz is a leader in WME’s scripted television department, having joined Endeavor talent agency (which would later become WME) in 1997.
Muirhead has worked at the company for 18 years, and was instrumental in Endeavor’s communications strategy for more than 30 acquisitions and business launches, WME said.
Endeavor has acquired a number of businesses, including hospitality and live events company On Location Experiences and mixed martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship, to diversify beyond talent representation.
“I look forward to leveraging the full scale and depth of Endeavor’s network on our clients’ behalf, forging connections and creating opportunities to help them build industry-leading brands and businesses,” Muirhead said.
Endeavor stock was trading at $24.60, up 15 cents a share on Thursday.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.