Klein’s hire comes a few days after WME and its private equity partner Silver Lake reached an agreement to hire sports management powerhouse IMG in a deal valued at $2.4 billion.
The New York Times reported Monday that the WME-IMG union will boost Silver Lake’s stake in the combined entity to about 51%, up from the 31% interest it acquired in WME in 2012.
WME co-CEOs Patrick Whitesell and Ariel Emanuel maintain operational control of the agency. But Klein’s appointment is seen as a sign of Silver Lake exerting some influence as WME prepares to absorb IMG, a much larger, more internationally focused entity that the heavyweight showbiz percentery.
“Peter’s impressive track record and international experience will be a tremendous asset as we begin a new and exciting chapter in our company’s history,” said Whitesell and Emanuel in a statement. “Peter’s proven ability to structure and manage teams on a global scale, and bring rigor and organizational effectiveness to businesses large and small, will help to strengthen both WME and IMG.”
Klein left Microsoft in June after 11 years at the company.