Marc Geiger Exits WME; Clayton, Dickins, Sommer To Lead Music Division
WME has announced that partner and worldwide head of music Marc Geiger is leaving the agency after 17 years, while co-head of music Sara Newkirk Simon transitions to a consultant role with parent company Endeavor.
Lucy Dickins – head of WME’s UK music division – has been elevated to co-head of WME’s Music Division joining Scott Clayton and Kirk Sommer, who retain their roles as co-heads.
“Under Marc’s leadership, WME’s Music division has become a global powerhouse,” Lloyd Braun, President of Endeavor’s Representation businesses, said in a statement. “During his tenure, Marc led countless agency initiatives and ‘firsts’ for the music industry, including the creation of Festivals and EDM divisions and building out WME’s leading London and Sydney music teams. We thank Marc for his countless contributions to WME and wish him all the best going forward.”
“The past 17 years have been an incredible ride, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the world’s best artists and colleagues,” Geiger added in the announcement. “I’m proud of all that we accomplished, most especially the team we built during my time with the agency. I know they will achieve great things in the future.”
Newkirk Simon, transitioning out of her role as Co-Head of the agency’s music division, will consult for WME parent company Endeavor on crossover initiatives for all of Endeavor’s representation businesses, according to the statement, and continue to serve as an advisor to WME’s Music division.
“Sara has played a critical role in managing our music division and positively impacting the career trajectories of countless clients,” said Braun. “We are deeply grateful for her contributions at the agency.”
Clayton, who joined in 2017, will continue in his role as Co-Head of WME’s Nashville office along with Becky Gardenhire, Joey Lee, and Jay Williams.
Word of Geiger’s possible departure had been the subject of widespread speculation since at least March, when WME parent company Endeavor announced cost reduction measures that included salary cuts to top executives and senior agents.
Pay reductions included top execs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, who gave up their salaries for the remainder of the year after the COVID-19 pandemic all but shut down the live music industry as well as film and TV production.
Geiger has been a fixture in the industry since founding ARTISTdirect, one of the earliest online music retailers and distributors, in 1994. He joined William Morris in 2003 and played a major role in taking the heritage agency’s music division to new heights with new artist signings and investment in Lollapalooza.
He was named to Pollstar’s inaugural Impact 50 in 2019, recognized in the “Visionaries” category as an executive who’s had a profound impact on the live business.
Although it’s unclear what’s next, Geiger’s deep knowledge of the intersection of tech and music likely means he won’t be idle.
According to a former employee, Endeavor, whose subsidiaries include WME-IMG, UFC, Miss Universe and Professional Bull Riders and which failed to pull off its scheduled IPO last September, has left the agency over-leveraged and upset a number of senior executives.