ICM vet Newman exits agency

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Robert Newman, head of motion pictures at ICM and a 17-year veteran of the agency whose clients include directors Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo del Toro, Baz Luhrmann and Danny Boyle, has left ICM to join Endeavor as a partner, both agencies confirmed Wednesday.

Newman said he expects that del Toro, Rodriguez, Luhrmann and Boyle will follow him to the 12-year-old agency, which already reps such A-list helmers as Martin Scorsese, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Michael Moore. The fate of such Newman clients as Jonathan Demme, Mike Figgis, Brian Helgeland, John Hodge, Paul McGuigan, Iain Softley, Todd Solondz, Whit Stillman and Lee Tamahori remains up in the air.

Also joining Newman as a partner at Endeavor is former ICM television lit agent Matt Solo, who left ICM last month. At ICM, Solo's clients included top showrunners David Shore (Fox's "House") and Shawn Ryan (FX's "The Shield"). It is unclear if he will take those clients with him. Although ICM said the agency continues to rep Solo's roster, sources said Ryan likely will follow Solo to Endeavor.

With Newman's departure, ICM's motion picture activities will continue to be overseen by Doug MacLaren and Nick Reed, co-heads of the motion picture literary department, and Carol Bodie, head of the motion picture talent department. Newman's departure is a blow to ICM's roster of film directors, though it remains the agency home of such notables as Nancy Meyers, Woody Allen and David Cronenberg.

Newman's departure comes nearly six months after the management shake-up at ICM that followed its $70 million acquisition of Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann agency. Sources said Newman had become disenchanted with the new ICM regime, but other insiders including Newman downplayed such talk.

"It's the hardest decision I ever made in my life," Newman said. "I will always be grateful for all the support I've enjoyed at ICM and the many friendships I built there."

Before joining ICM, Newman worked for six years at Miramax Films in marketing and distribution. But he couldn't resist the chance to become a partner at Endeavor. Newman's appointment brings the number of partners at Endeavor to 21.

"I am honored that Endeavor asked me to join them, and I go there with the absolute confidence that they can absolutely provide the resources for the artists with whom I work," Newman said.

Meanwhile, sources said Solo and ICM parted ways when Solo's contract expired at year's end, and the agency wouldn't meet his asking price. He had been with ICM since 1996.

"The addition of Robert and Matt to the Endeavor team is another strategic move in the continued growth and evolution of Endeavor and presents even more opportunities for their clients and those already at Endeavor," the agency said in a statement. "They are exactly the kind of people we want to work with."

In August, former ICM co-president Nancy Josephson, who was edged out of ICM's top management following the BWCS purchase, also moved to Endeavor as a partner.

ICM released a statement confirming Newman's departure. "We wish him well," a spokesman said. "ICM has just experienced a year of tremendous growth, and this path will continue."

Anne Thompson and Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.
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