BGE Loses Grey, Raids Firm

Brad Grey has relinquished sole ownership of his former management and production business, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, to a team of execs headed by partners Cynthia Pett-Dante and Jon Liebman.

In addition to Pett-Dante and Liebman, who was named CEO, founding partner Bernie Brillstein, and company vets Marc Gurwitz and Sandy Wernick will remain heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the company.

The weeks leading up to the restructuring have also seen big changes at Brillstein-Grey Management, which has beefed up its roster with three refugees from the Firm: Aleen Keshishian, JoAnne Colonna and Mary Putnam Greene.

Keshishian and Colonna were co-heads of the Firm’s talent department until Keshishian, whose contract had expired, left to join BGM July 11th, according to Variety.

Colonna’s departure was reported by the trade paper July 31st. She reps stars including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brittany Murphy, Andy Garcia, Brendan Fraser and Anna Paquin, all of whom are expected to join Colonna at Brillstein-Grey Management.

Keshishian’s clients include Natalie Portman, Laura Linney, Julianna Margulies, Paul Rudd, Freddie Prinze Jr., Emily Mortimer and Jared Leto. At the time of her departure, the Firm’s Rick Yorn insisted it was with the blessing of the company.

But the defections of Keshishian, Colonna and Greene are only the latest to strike the Firm. In recent months, both co-managers of the music department bailed out as well. Dixie Chicks manager Simon Renshaw left to start his own company and Andy Gould walked away with client Rob Zombie.

Gayle Boulware, who got her start at the Firm as CEO Jeff Kwatinetz’s assistant, left to join Renshaw.

“To another firm, it would seem like an exodus; to another company, it would seem like this company is taking on water,” Geffen Records President and Kwatinetz confidante Jordan Schur told The New York Times. “In reality, it’s a correction, of Jeff taking out people who don’t want to work, people riding coattails.”

Regardless of the Firm’s position, Grey’s departure from the company he co-founded was seen as inevitable once he took the top job at Paramount Pictures earlier this year. Details of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but it’s a given that Grey would retain the company’s lucrative interest in HBO hit series “The Sopranos.”

In addition, he’ll retain a passive financial interest in Brad Grey TV-produced shows such as ABC’s “According to Jim” and “Jake in Progress,” as well as HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” according to the Los Angeles Times.