WME names new chairmen of talent agency

Beverly Hills-based WME on Thursday promoted two longtime executives to lead the talent agency as co-chairmen.

WME partner Richard Weitz and Christian Muirhead, chief communications officer at Endeavor, WME’s parent company, were named as co-chairmen of one of Hollywood’s major talent agencies.

“I’ve seen first-hand their innate ability to lead, to build meaningful relationships, and to leverage the broader Endeavor network in service to our clients’ aspirations,” Endeavor President Mark Shapiro said in a statement.

The agency’s current chairman, Lloyd Braun, will step down from his role at the end of the year, when his contract is up. Braun, a veteran TV executive, joined WME in 2019.

Part of his role was to help the company better service clients in areas such as podcasts, books, live events, TV and licensing. He helped guide the agency during the pandemic, when live events and productions were suspended or canceled, causing many talent agencies to lay off staff and cut salaries.

He also served in the position when WME’s parent company, Endeavor, launched its IPO last year and became a publicly-traded company. In the second quarter, Endeavor reported $1.3 billion in revenue, up 18% from a year earlier.

Shapiro thanked Braun in a statement on Thursday, for “setting the agency on course for its best financial year on record.”

A man in a suit, smiling.

Christian Muirhead, co-chairman of WME.

(Alex J. Berliner / ABImages / WME)

“Lloyd has left an indelible mark on WME and laid a strong foundation for the future,” Shapiro said in a statement.

The leadership changes come as the entertainment industry continues to consolidate and WME faces competition from rivals.

Creative Artists Agency in June closed on its deal to acquire ICM Partners, seen as the fourth-largest talent agency, significantly increasing CAA’s presence in sports representation. WME will also have to fend off competitors from poaching their agents.

Weitz is a leader in WME’s scripted television department, having joined Endeavor talent agency (which would later become WME) in 1997.

Muirhead has worked at the company for 18 years, and was instrumental in Endeavor’s communications strategy for more than 30 acquisitions and business launches, WME said.

Endeavor has acquired a number of businesses, including hospitality and live events company On Location Experiences and mixed martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship, to diversify beyond talent representation.

“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,” Muirhead said.

Endeavor stock was trading at $24.60, up 15 cents a share on Thursday.

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