Maisel joins Ovitz outfit

Michael Ovitz has hired David Maisel, former director of strategic planning and development at the Walt Disney Co. and a former member of the corporate consulting group at Creative Artists Agency, as an investment adviser for his new business ventures (Variety, March 30-April 5). Although Ovitz has been looking for support staff for the past couple of months, Maisel marks his first significant hire.

The agent-turned-studio exec-turned-entrepreneur has tried to keep a low profile since exiting the Walt Disney Co. as president in mid-December. Ovitz told friends he has devised a business plan for a new multimedia company. He is said to have the backing of Herbert Allen Jr.

Described as “a young, hot-shot” former management consultant, Maisel will be looking for investment opportuni-ties for Ovitz and will work as a consultant for him.

At Disney, Maisel served as a member of the strategic planning staff and was mainly involved with international and music business, including talks between Sony Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. about a music label acquisition.

Ovitz hired Maisel only about a month after he was hired himself at the Mouse House. Maisel, in his mid-30s, worked alongside executive VP and chief strategic officer Lawrence Murphy and was considered Ovitz’s ally inside Disney.

According to one insider, “He was Ovitz’s guy, so after (Ovitz) left there was really no place for him here.”

CAA hired Maisel in 1994 in the early days of the agency’s move into corporate consulting. During his stint, he worked in an advisory role on the Seagram Co.’s $5.7 billion acquisition of 80% of MCA from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., and on other accounts, including Nike.

Before joining CAA, Maisel worked for five years with the Boston Consulting Group, assisting entertainment and media companies. Maisel would not comment, and Ovitz was out of the country.

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