Patrick Whitesell, co-CEO of WME Entertainment, opened up on the state of his business in a rare, wide-ranging interview that included an explanation of the agency's rationale in its recent 49% investment in advertising agency Droga5.Speaking Monday at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen (see full interview in video above), Whitesell said that the investment, announced earlier this month, would allow for an "integrated solution" for advertisers to craft campaigns from "TV to outdoor to online to TV shows to...
In his two-decade reign as a superagent, he’s done everything from help with the mergers of WME and IMG to playing a part in getting two of his clients the iconic role of Batman.
Whitesell began his career at Intertalent before moving over to UTA and finally CAA as head of the agency’s talent department in 1995. Whitesell would become one of the rising stars, landing future superstars like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (Batman #2) and Hugh Jackman in the years to come.
He would eventually leave CAA to form Endeavor with Ari Emanuel in 2001. The duo would make another major move in 2008 when Endeavor would merge with William Morris Talent Agency to form WME Entertainment, ultimately solidifying itself as the nearest competitor to CAA, which had long stood as the biggest agency in town.
Whitesell continued to represent some of the biggest names in town, adding names like Christian Bale (Batman #1), Joaquin Phoenix, Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington to his list of clients after leaving for Endeavor.
One of the latest deals he helped spearhead was WME’s acquisition of IMG, placing the company squarely in the middle of the fashion world, which includes having full creative control of New York Fashion Week. Together with Emanuel, he continues to spread WME’s tentacles into a wide variety of businesses, from its stunning acquisition of UFC to the formation of a political action committee in February 2017. With a $1.1 billion cash infusion the agency scored in August, WME-IMG may only be getting started in its bid to own more intellectual property, and maybe even get around to an IPO.