EXCLUSIVE: In a major shakeup at the entertainment publicity/marketing firm 42West, preeminent publicist Leslee Dart will shed the co-CEO title she has shared with Amanda Lundberg. Dart will take a newly created senior strategic advisor role at Dolphin Entertainment, which made 42West its first acquisition in the PR/marketing space in a $28 million deal in 2017. Lundberg will become sole CEO and run 42West day to day from its New York headquarters.
Dolphin subsequently acquired The Door and Viewpoint Creative, and most recently the music PR firm Shore Fire. Two more acquisitions in the space will be made this year, and Dart will take on a supervisory role in pulling those pieces together and making them compatible as Dolphin continues to grow under president Bill O’Dowd.
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Because the company is publicly traded, the principals were not specific on the title Dart will hold at Dolphin, but word began getting around on the weekend that the move was happening. Staff is being told this morning. Dart, Lundberg and O’Dowd confirmed it and provided statements below.
That leaves Lundberg as 42West’s sole CEO. Lundberg left as head of PR at Miramax to join Dart some 15 years ago, shortly after Dart started The Dart Group following a contentious exit from PMK/HBH after a dispute with Pat Kingsley ended her two decade run there. For a long time, Dart and Lundberg had been co-CEOs along with Los Angeles-based Allan Mayer. In a sad note, he will not be returning to 42West, as he continues to focus on recovering from a devastating car accident that has sidelined him since last October.
Dart, whose new post will also allow her more time with her family, will continue to work with 42West in her expanded capacity. She will also continue to guide her stable of longtime clients that includes Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Martin Scorsese, Sopranos creator David Chase, Darren Aronofsky, Francis Coppola and many others.
Lundberg has has her own strong client list that includes Tom Cruise, Shawn Levy, Paul Feig, Guillermo del Toro, Baz Luhrmann, Pete Farrelly, Bill Condon and many others.
Said Dart: “Since we became part of Dolphin, 42West has had a whole new trajectory and I’m very proud we were the first company Bill bought. This new role allows for me to continue to do high level strategy for my clients, whom I love, as well as focusing on the growth of all the Dolphin companies. Throughout the 15 years of 42West’s life, Amanda has been more than a partner and leader. She is one of the most forward thinking people I know and, more importantly to me, she is the sister I never had.”
Said Lundberg: “The only important thing for me is Leslee’s happiness – she’s earned it. For our relationship to continue in this way so we can continue to benefit from her brilliance makes me super happy as well.”
O’Dowd called Dart “a true pioneer and leader in her field and 42West has been instrumental in changing the way PR is done. As 42West evolves and grows so will its relationship with Leslee and I have loved our past 3 years of collaboration and know the best is yet to come. Amanda has been leading 42West with Leslee since Year One of the company. Her passion for the success of 42West is inspirational, and l also know how proud she is of the seasoned senior management team she works with in both New York and Los Angeles.”
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