CAA Announces Agency Promotions at Starry Retreat With Will Smith, Dua Lipa, Jimmy Fallon

The CAA Buidling
Michael Buckner for Variety

While Hollywood’s talent agencies can’t throw generously-lit award show after parties or line their sleek conference rooms with keto-friendly snacks, some traditions must carry on during COVID-19.

CAA delivered a starry lineup of clients to address the company at its annual agents retreat, this year held virtually over the past two days. Agency talent and guest speakers appeared, one insider present for the retreat told Variety, including Will Smith, Dua Lipa, George Stephanopoulos, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Yeun, Sacha Baron Cohen and Bill Gates.

The agency normally shuttles their well-heeled reps to resorts in local California haunts like Ojai, La Costa or Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Positivity and resilience were major themes in various video conferences, the source said. Lipa, who will perform at this Sunday’s Grammys, sat for a conversation with her agent Carole Kinzel. Baron Cohen, fresh off his double Golden Globe win for “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm,” chatted with agent Joel Lubin. Davis Guggenheim discussed the state of climate change with Gates. Smith pondered the meaning of being an artist in his conversation.

The agency also promoted 16 staffers to the rank of agent or executive at the event.

Joella Dorenbaum, Mathilde Dumont, JB Fogel, Harry Fotopoulos, Faith France, Yale Wolman and Arya Zanganeh have been upped to talent agents. Those seven agents will work in Los Angeles focusing on actor clients.

Miami-based Simone Capers and Maya Nelson and New York-based Corey Vann were promoted to executives in the agency’s basketball division, while Alex Gold is now an agent in theater in New York. In Los Angeles, Norris Brooks has become a TV scripted agent and Yesenia Martinez is a full-agent for commercial endorsements.

London-based Chris Ibbs, Nashville-based Evan Kantor and New York-based Jasmin Nash have all been promoted to agents in CAA’s music department, which represents mega stars such as Ariana Grande and Harry Styles.

“They have each proven their ability to live out the values of CAA on a daily basis and continue to work with passion, unparalleled client service and an exceptional commitment to the agency’s team-centered culture,” said Michelle Kydd Lee, CAA’s chief innovation officer and board member. “They have each carved out an incredible career for themselves through their hard work and dedication.”

The promotions come on the heels of additional promotions at the agency. On Feb. 10, CAA promoted Albert Lee, Bryant Barile and Stephanie Smalling to agents in its motion picture literary department based in Los Angeles. More recently, general counsel Jeffrey Freedman took on an additional position as the agency’s chief administrative officer.