CAA Nashville Co-head Scott Clayton Exits for WME Post
Fellow agent Matthew Morgan has followed him to the rival agency's Nashville office.
Powerful agent Scott Clayton has stunned Music City, resigning from a leadership post at CAA to accept a position as partner and co-head of WME's Nashville office, where he also will lead the agency's rock division.
The move surprised many because Clayton was one of five co-heads of the music department at CAA Nashville, where he repped John Mayer, Dead & Company and Kings of Leon. Clayton's resignation, announced Friday and coming as a surprise to many in CAA's Nashville office, has Clayton joining Greg Oswald, Rob Beckham, Joey Lee and Jay Williams as co-heads of WME's Nashville office.
"We have long admired Scott as a competitor, and are proud to now call him our colleague," Williams said in a statement. “His understanding of where the business is heading and how WME can provide even greater services to its clients make him an ideal fit. We look forward to bringing his leadership and insight to our colleagues and clients.”
Clayton had been with CAA since the early 1990s and was one of the first agents in the Nashville office to add contemporary artists like Train to the roster. He also worked with the CAA Nashville team on festival bookings, colleges and fairs.
"Over the course of my career I’ve been proud to watch the music community in Nashville grow into a global force," Clayton said in a statement. “Overseeing the rock business from this city speaks to its importance and the city’s continued expansion. WME has demonstrated a strong commitment to Nashville and the rock genre, and I look forward to working to create new opportunities for all of our clients.”
The four other co-heads of CAA Nashville — Marc Dennis, Rod Essig, John Huie and Darin Murphy — had reportedly been in negotiations with Clayton for the past month and were told Friday that he was leaving CAA to join WME.
"Scott is unquestionably one of the most respected executives in the live music industry, having identified and worked with many great rock artists," WME music head Marc Geiger said in a statement. "We are seeing many different genres of music thriving out of Nashville right now, and with Scott’s addition we are in a great position to take advantage of the market opportunities available to us."
Hiring Morgan brings a second seasoned vet to WME's new Nashville rock team — Morgan has worked with Cam, Gavin DeGraw, Lizzo, Ryan Follese, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Phillip Phillips, Pussy Riot, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Ricky Reed, Rival Sons, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Script and Zac Brown Band. The University of Georgia graduate served as co-head of the festival department at CAA.
Other defections are thought to be in the works. CAA officials confirmed that agent Buster Phillips had also left the company, although WME had not yet confirmed that Phillips had made the crosstown switch. It also remains unclear if any of the artists Clayton and Morgan repped at CAA will follow them to WME.
A version of this story originally appeared on Billboard.com.