Changes at the Top of William Morris Agency

Dec 17, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The William Morris Agency has undergone a major management shift at the highest levels, including the exit of Sam Haskell, head of the agency’s worldwide television department, who is credited with packaging a plethora of series for network, cable and syndication.

Mark Itkin, who leads the nonscripted television department, will take on additional responsibility in leading the agency’s television activities, according to an announcement from the William Morris board.

Dave Wirtschafter has been named president of the agency and Irv Weintraub has been elevated to chief operating officer. Norman Brokaw continues as chairman, and Jim Wiatt remains CEO. According to the release, Mr. Wirtschafter will share responsibility for television activities with Mr. Itkin.

Aside from Mr. Haskell, staff leaving the agency as of Dec. 27 are current Chief Operating Officer Steve Kram and Executive VP and board Trustee Richard Rosenberg. Mr. Kram is primarily involved in corporate consulting and international expansion, while Mr. Rosenberg has responsibility for the music division along with Peter Grosslight, who will now assume Mr. Rosenberg’s responsibilities.

“Speaking for the entire company, I want to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude for the innumerable contributions that Sam, Richard and Steve have made to William Morris and to the entertainment community during their collective 55 years with the company,” Mr. Brokaw said in a statement.

Mr. Weintraub will take over Mr. Kram’s responsibilities as COO, while Michael Dates, senior VP of finance, becomes chief financial officer for the agency.

Mr. Haskell has worked as an agent and executive at William Morris for 26 years. He joined the board in 1996 and in 1999 was elevated to head of worldwide television. The agency release stated: “For the past 10 years, Mr. Haskell has led the agency’s television department to their most successful years ever by targeting the foreign format business and by supervising the packaging of more than 60 current series in network, cable and syndication.”

Mr. Wirtschafter joined William Morris from ICM in 1999 and has served since then as worldwide head of motion pictures and as a member of the board. He takes a title formerly held by Mr. Wiatt. Before ICM, Mr. Wirtschafter worked in the business affairs division of CAA.