Jeff Berg Departs ICM Partners

Jeff Berg Portrait 2011
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Roman Polanski 's agent Jeff Berg poses in his office in Los Angeles on September 28, 2009. The controversial 76-year-old director was arrested on September 26, 2009 after he arrived to receive a prize at the Zurich film festival.  France and Poland are to ask the United States to drop the charges and consider a presidential pardon over the case, though Polanski has already acknowledged he had sex with the 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977. Several Swiss newspapers drew a link between the detention and Switzerland's dispute with the United States over banking secrecy, and called the arrest of Polanski at Zurich airport a stain on the country's image.

UPDATED: The former head of the agency announced Friday that he is leaving immediately. Longtime agent Carol Bodie also is out.

Jeff Berg, the former chairman and CEO of the ICM talent agency, announced Friday that he is leaving immediately. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Berg was pushed out before he could depart to form a new agency. Longtime agent Carol Bodie also was let go from ICM.

The move is not a surprise, considering that Berg in May sold his ownership interest in the agency to a group led by other ICM agents, who renamed the firm ICM Partners. That deal also bought out Birmingham, Mich.-based private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management.

At the time of the buyout, Berg said he would remain on board as an agent but he told colleagues in a firm-wide email on Friday that he was leaving, effective immediately, to pursue new opportunities. In an interview with THR, Berg says he is raising money to open a new agency to specialize in securing financing for films and advising on the sale of libraries and catalogs. An announcement about Berg's new venture and his financial partners is coming in the near future.

“I’ve been considering a different path in the agency business and will be announcing my plans very shortly,” Berg tells THR in a statement. “I’ve spent my career as an owner-operator and this is the right time for me to repeat that practice. This has been a long and successful association. I am proud of what we have achieved and the opportunities that the agency can embrace.”

ICM Partners praised Berg in a statement.

“Jeff played an integral role in the formation of ICM and its continuation for more than 35 years," the partners tell THR in a joint statement. "We appreciate his contributions and wish him well. The goal of ICM Partners is to provide our clients with the best representation in the industry, while continuing our culture of collegiality and teamwork.”


Twitter: @THRMattBelloni