Pinos Leaves WMA

William Morris Agency Senior VP Jorge Pinos has left the company and formed JEP Entertainment Group in Encino, Calif. Pinos, the international booking contact for WMA, has launched his firm with four artists, including Juan Gabriel, and more announcements are expected.

“I’m leaving a lot of friends behind,” Pinos told Pollstar, “but at 49 years old, it was time for me to build a company for my family. … It’s tough because I went into (the offices of WMA’s) Walter Zifkin and Dick Alen – they gave me a job 22 years ago. It’s pretty sad; it’s like I’m telling family goodbye.”

Pinos, who trained in the agency’s music department after graduating from UCLA, helped build the careers of Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Julio Iglesias, Shakira and Jose Feliciano, among others. He said JEP Entertainment is not labeled an agency because he wishes to provide management opportunities for his artists as well. The new company will also give him the ability to book artists stateside as well as in international territories.

Along with Gabriel, Pinos is listing the Latino act Lucero (there is an alternative country act of the same name booked through The Agency Group Ltd.), Jaime Camil and Jennifer Peña. All are worldwide exclusive, with Gabriel and Lucero worldwide outside of Mexico.

Other artists that Pinos booked at WMA include Thalia, Feliciano, Paul Anka, Vikki Carr and Arturo Sandoval. He insisted his company will not focus on Latino acts; he booked the last international tour for the Bee Gees and has routed Hanson, Diana Ross, Maxi Priest and just booked James Brown‘s South America dates.

“It’s not about getting a lot of artists,” Pinos said. “It’s about having a few artists that I can concentrate on and devote myself to them.”

He agreed it sounds a lot like the movie “Jerry Maguire,” with the exception that, “I’m leaving on really great terms.” For instance, the Encino office is 20 minutes away from WMA’s Los Angeles headquarters so, “I’ll be visiting them, I’ll be hanging around and we can develop a lot of things together, I think.”

It’s good terms indeed: JEP was already taking calls while Pinos was still at WMA. His last day there is March 25th.

Pinos will have three people in the office – a secretary, an assistant and a CFO.

Camil will be appearing with the “Mambo Kings” on Broadway this year, Lucero is touring in the fall, and Gabriel’s tour is already in the works.

“Through the years in this business, I don’t think there’s good representation out there for some of the major Latino artists,” he said. “I think there’s room in this company for me to be able to develop the artists. I’ve developed great relationships with major executives at the labels and every artist you can talk to.”

By conjoining agency and management capabilities, Pinos believes his company will be very attractive to new artists and established Latino acts trying to break into the U.S. market.

Pinos can be contacted at 310-990-4548 and [email protected].