UTA has hired agency veteran Darnell Strom to head a newly created Culture and Leadership division. The hire and the launch of the division take effect today, and he will report jointly to UTA president Jay Sures and CEO Jeremy Zimmer.
Strom spent the past nine years at CAA, where his client list included former Vice President Joe Biden, Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, Gayle King, will.i.am, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Jeff Gordon and Chad Hurley; many are expected to make the move with him. He’s also worked with global brands including Google, YouTube, Target, Red Bull, Salesforce and Samsung on talent partnerships.
In his new role, he will work with UTA clients “who want to expand their diverse businesses and cultural influence at the intersection of entertainment, media, entrepreneurship, politics, the arts, and thought leadership,” the agency said in announcing the hire Tuesday.
“Today’s hyper-connected world challenges the traditional definitions of influence,” said Strom. “Some of the most impactful artists, authors, thought leaders, change makers and entrepreneurs have harnessed the power of this new landscape to connect and create big, bold, brave ideas. UTA’s incredible infrastructure across all mediums and its holistic approach to representation will serve as a creative hub for these leading voices – helping them build businesses and find global audiences in unexpected places. I am thrilled to lead UTA’s new Culture and Leadership Division.”
Before becoming an agent he worked with former President Bill Clinton to help launch the Clinton Millennium Network. He began his career in politics and public service and served as director of the chairman’s office at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He also recently served on President Barack Obama’s White House Entertainment Council, where he worked to leverage the power of the entertainment community to advocate around social initiatives.
“Innovation and ideas are driving every aspect of the modern world today, and the power of thought leaders, innovators, politicians and corporate leaders is expanding with it,” Sures said. “As UTA expands, we are at the intersection where thought leadership meets media – and so our next step was to bring on a leading professional whose standing and background will resonate with the creative, thoughtful minds shaping culture today. Darnell will be that powerful strategist for our clients. His leadership will help bring new voices into UTA and support our existing clients – their work, ideas and ambitions for the world around them as they help change the way we think, conduct business and create culture for the future.”
UTA has had a full week already, beefing up its News and Broadcast team by signing former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and hiring former ABC News and Mic executive Marc Paskin as an agent. Both join a department that reps clients including Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, Norah O’Donnell, David Muir, Dana Bash, Glenn Beck, Chuck Todd, Margaret Brennan and Brian Kilmeade.
Kasich, who is mulling a third GOP presidential run, just signed a deal with CNN to be a contributor.
The Huffington Post got word of Strom’s hire first today.