The William Morris Agency, rocked by a series of resignations, underwent a sweeping executive overhaul last week as Norman Brokaw, president/chief executive officer, replaced Lou Weiss as chairman while continuing as CEO.
Jerry Katzman succeeds Brokaw as west coast-based president. Katzman moves up from executive v.p. in charge of worldwide tv. Weiss becomes chairman emeritus and continues to head the New York office.
Walt Zifkin stays in place as chief operating officer and Roger Davis continues as executive v.p. and chairman of the executive committee. Davis has been exec v.p. since 1981. He is current chairman of the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
The executive changes were all but upstaged by 14-year WMA veteran v.p. John Ptak, who resigned from the Morris agency to join Michael Ovitz’ Creative Artists Agency. Ptak takes with him such clients as Stephen Frears, Costa-Gavras, Peter Weir and Gerard Depardieu.
Ptak is considered the industry’s leading agency specialist in putting together financing for packages involving his clients, including the Bruce Beresford-directed Academy Award-winner “Driving Miss Daisy” and the current release “Green Card.”
Meanwhile, WMA last week suffered another setback – characterized as “friendly” – with the resignation of Mark Tietelbaum, a 12-year-veteran in the agency’s tv talent department. He’s leaving to set up his own personal management company.
A William Morris spokesman insisted the company’s executive shakeup was not the result of the recent wave of resignations. He said the realignment had been planned long before the resignations began, but conceded the announcement was pushed up a week earlier than originally intended.
Ptak’s departure follows the resignations of Toni Howard, Elaine Goldsmith, Risa Shapiro and Boaty Boatwright. All four joined ICM.
Sue Mengers exited as head of the company’s film division a month earlier when she was notified her contract would not be renewed.