EXCLUSIVE: Jim Berkus remains chairman and just sent out a notice to staff. Jeremy Zimmer is one of the Hollywood agency’s 6 owners and is a UTA co-founder and managing director. The 53-year-old Zimmer tells me that he took on the CEO role because “it’s important as the company reaches outside its traditional business into finance, international and digital. It’s a title people more readily identify with. My opinion is that this is only 10 years overdue — which is why we’re doing this right now.” Zimmer immediately becomes the agency’s heir apparent to Berkus. Zimmer told me that UTA “is in a great place in terms of stability and solidarity. And also to some degree the partners are acknowledging the role I played in helping us accomplish some of that stuff. It’s positioning for the future.” The other 6 UTA owners are Berkus, Peter Benedek, Jay Sures, Tracey Jacobs, and David Kramer. Zimmer now oversees more than 125 agents and 350 employees in Beverly Hills and New York in motion pictures, television, music, intellectual property, digital media, video gaming, branded entertainment as well as film and television packaging, film finance, corporate consulting, branding, licensing, endorsements, and the representation of production talent.
Zimmer was once known as the bad boy among Hollywood agents but has worked hard to become relentlessly respectable inside the agenting profession. What kept his career going despite some stops and starts was that he was known for having great taste in material. The grandson of legendary Hollywood studio chief Dory Schary began his career at age 19 in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency. After moving to Los Angeles in 1984, he joined ICM and eventually ran both the Motion Picture Literary and Motion Picture Packaging departments. Zimmer was asked to leave ICM for an infamous episode when he told an Industry gathering that the agency profession was engaged in “raping and pillaging”. He became a partner at the Bauer/Benedek Agency, and in 1991 he helped found United Talent Agency through a merger of Bauer/Benedek and Leading Artists Agency.
Clients represented by Zimmer include Andrew Adamson, Noah Baumbach, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher Guest, Curtis Hanson, Jimmy Hayward, Anthony Hopkins, Barry Levinson, director-producer Frank Marshall, Peter Morgan, director-producer Brian Robbins, Chris Wedge, as well as verge culture retailer Karmaloop and HiT Entertainment. Zimmer is also involved in United Entertainment Group, the joint venture company formed with advertising veteran Jarrod Moses, which is among the industry’s largest independent branded entertainment and integrated media firms. Zimmer’s official bio credits him with establishing UTA’s Branding, Licensing & Endorsements division as well as UTAOnline and UTA’s Agent Trainee Program.