Mary Bekhait has been appointed group CEO of European talent powerhouse YMU.
Bekhait, who will assume her new position on Jan. 1, steps up from her current role as U.K. CEO. Neil Rodford, the current group CEO, will step down on Dec. 31 after 20 years with the company. He will become chairman of the newly-founded subsidiary YMU Ventures.
Bekhait marks eight years with YMU Group, which was borne out of private equity firm Trilantic’s acquisition of the James Grant Group in 2018. Her client roster has included Davina McCall, Holly Willoughby, Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates. After joining in 2012, she was promoted to deputy managing director of entertainment in 2016 and became managing director in 2017. She was named CEO for the U.K. in September 2019.
Looking forward, Bekhait will prioritize securing more diverse talent and placing creativity “at the heart of the business,” said YMU.
Investing alongside clients in creating IP will also be a focus, particularly for Rodford out of YMU Ventures. The media veteran will also continue to assist in mergers and acquisitions activity for the company.
“I am proud to step into this role, and to lead the group in the next stage of its development,” said Bekhait. “The power of music, art and sport is transformative, and inspires the organization. We are so fortunate to represent our exceptional clients, and working alongside such talented colleagues is a privilege. Together, we are unstoppable.”
The incoming CEO noted that YMU plans to invest in growth areas including digital, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer.
Rodford added: “I want to thank everyone — colleagues, clients, investors and partners — who has helped create YMU during the last 20 years. And I’m very happy to continue with YMU in a new role. It is now time for a new generation of leaders to power the next phase of YMU’s growth. Mary is the right successor, and I’m proud to hand over to such a talented executive.”
Harvey Goldsmith, chairman of the YMU board, said: “Mary Bekhait has the board’s enthusiastic backing as she steps up to be group CEO and drives the next stage of YMU’s development. Neil Rodford has been the driving force behind YMU’s transformation into the industry-leading powerhouse that it is today.”
YMU’s operations span sports, music, drama, comedy, entertainment and business management. Group revenue exceeded £50 million ($65 million) in 2019, and the company employs over 250 people, with offices in London, Manchester, Washington DC and Los Angeles.
As revealed by Variety in May, YMU Group recently rebranded talent subsidiary Troika to YMU Drama and Comedy in July.