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WME is shaking up its top leadership ranks, promoting two long-tenured executives to jointly oversee the talent agency and its representation business.
The Beverly Hills-based firm named Richard Weitz and Christian Muirhead as co-chairmen, succeeding Lloyd Braun in the role, the agency said Thursday. Braun, a veteran entertainment exec who joined WME’s Ari Emanuel-run parent company Endeavor in 2019 to oversee its representation business, will exit at the end of the year.
“I would like to thank Lloyd for his leadership over these past three years, navigating WME through the pandemic and setting the agency on course for its best financial year on record,” said Endeavor president Mark Shapiro. “Lloyd has left an indelible mark on WME and laid a strong foundation for the future.”
Ari Greenburg, who was named president of WME in Dec. 2018 and was an early partner at the agency, will continue on in the role and report to Muirhead and Weitz.
Weitz is stepping into the co-chairman role after serving as partner since 2002, and joining the agency twenty five years ago in 1997. The exec has held key roles and clients (Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Julianne Hough and Dan Levy, among many others) at WME, and led the agency’s TV packaging department. And, during the height of the pandemic, raised millions for charity with his virtual “Quarantunes” events.
“WME is home to me, and I’m thrilled to carry on its century-long history and help set the course for its next 100 years,” Weitz said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most talented artists, agents, and industry executives for over 25 years. I’m humbled to have this incredible opportunity to expand on those relationships and introduce new ones, while working with Ari Greenburg, Dan Limerick, and the entire management team to create further value for our clients.”
Muirhead, meanwhile, moves back over from Endeavor corporate to the talent agency after serving as chief communications officer for the combined sports and entertainment company since 2014. The executive also played a role in the lead up to taking Endeavor public last year, after the company scrapped an earlier IPO attempt in 2019. Muirhead first joined WME in 2004 and went on to serve as the agency’s comms chief four years later.
“Having started my journey at WME, I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of the entertainment business and the growing influence of talent in shaping it,” Muirhead said. “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.”
Braun — who served as chairman of WME and president of Endeavor Client Group — joined the company just short of three years ago as it invested in Whalerock Industries, the digital media firm he originally founded as BermanBraun before a rebrand in 2014. Braun earlier had a five year run as president of ABC Entertainment from 1999 to 2004.
Endeavor’s representation segment, which includes WME, posted $358 million in revenue in its latest fiscal quarter ending June 30, up 9 percent from the same period a year ago as live events and touring recovered from COVID-era slowdowns. “At WME, Broadway, concerts, festivals and comedy tours, which have been slow to rebound, have resumed,” Emanuel noted on an Aug. 12 earnings call. “We’ve already booked over 30,000 touring dates this year, putting us 85 percent of the way to our typical annual total, and our clients represent more than half of music festival headliners in the U.S.”
Emanuel also singled out Summer box office blockbusters with a “significant WME client presence,” including talent in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Jurassic World Dominion, Elvis and the animated sequel Minions.
Since the first day of trading this year, Endeavor stock has fallen 29 percent, to $24.55 as of Sept. 8.
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