CAA Taps Time Warner Exec as Chief Financial Officer

James Burtson - S 2015
Courtesy of Business Wire

James Burtson - S 2015

The addition of mergers and acquisitions expert James Burtson signals the agency's continued priorities to expand and diversify.

CAA has hired Time Warner senior vice president James Burtson as chief financial officer, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Starting July 13, he will replace departing CFO Jeff M. Berry, whose family has decided to move out of Los Angeles.

Burtson's experience in mergers and acquisitions — he has overseen Time Warner's global efforts in that area since 2008 — will bolster CAA's ongoing foci on expansion and diversification. Thanks in large part to the increased investment from TPG Capital (which became majority owner with an additional $75 million investment in October), the agency has steadily added to its sports, corporate marketing, licensing and live-events practices, most recently acquiring Goviva and Beyond Sports & Entertainment to launch a full-service hospitality division called CAA Premium Experience last month. And Evolution Media Partners, the $350 million investment arm of CAA's affiliate investment bank, Evolution Media Capital, has taken stakes in Fred Segal, Fender and other companies with a focus on the media, technology and consumer sectors.

"In addition to operating as the premier sports and entertainment agency in the world, CAA continues to rapidly expand its business into new areas, strategically growing its global and diversified platform," TPG co-founder Jim Coulter said in a statement. "Jim's demonstrated combination of strategic expertise, financial acumen and industry experience makes him the ideal person to help lead CAA into its next chapter of growth."

Burtson began his career as a financial analyst at Time Warner in 1994 before stints at JPMorgan and Clear Channel Communications. The Columbia grad returned to Time Warner in 2002 and was promoted to senior vp investor relations in 2005. He actually helped to streamline Time Warner's enterprises, leading its spinoffs of Time Warner Cable, AOL and Time Inc.

"CAA's track record of industry leadership, and its constant innovation pushing the sector forward, has created a company and platform like no other," Burtson said in a statement. "They have an incredibly strong, stable and diversified company with a singular purpose — to create every possible advantage for its clients in a world where opportunities are exploding as content, brands, technology, sports and live events intersect in more ways than ever. To be a part of CAA's bright future is incredibly inspiring and humbling."

Said CAA president Richard Lovett in a statement, "CAA is experiencing incredible growth as we continue to expand the ways we serve clients and capitalize on new opportunities in the converging space of technology, content, sports and media. The addition of Jim, someone who has driven strategy for growing and dynamic businesses, is a meaningful next step in our company's evolution. His blend of deep financial and strategic experience will ensure that we continue along the path of strategically building our unique and growing global platform. I know Jim will be a natural fit within our highly collaborative environment and I look forward to working with him as we pursue future growth."

The Financial Times first reported Burtson's hiring.