EXCLUSIVE: Greg Bestick, an 11 year veteran of Paradigm who rose from COO to agency president, has just announced his retirement to staffers at the company. We’re told he’s leaving amicably.
Paradigm Chairman & CEO Sam Gores said that “Greg played a vital role in the agency’s growth and successes. I am forever grateful to him. I could not have asked for a more capable executive and counsel these past eleven years. Greg and I have become close friends, and I wish him the happiest, most well-deserved retirement as we look to write Paradigm’s next chapter.”
Here is the email that Bestick just sent to the gang at Paradigm:
From the desk of Greg Bestick
In February of 2009, I came to work at Paradigm on a three-month consulting contract. Three months and eleven very fulfilling years later, I’m moving on to the next phase of my life and retiring from full time work. This was the longest time I’d ever spent at one job in my life. By far. What kept me tied to this particular place for so long?
Mainly it was the people. So many who are not only capable and talented workers, but genuinely good human beings. Fargo and Metzger and Tantleff and the whole New York crew. Monterey, the foundation of our music business, Dan and Fred and Chip and Jonathan and that whole next generation of Pinkus, Hasson, Atamian, Greisch, McSwiggin, Nalpant, Schultz and on and on. The other music foundation, in New York, Marty, Larry, then Galle and Marquis and all they built up over the years. The talent and lit people in LA, Rand and Andrew and Alisa and Andy and Bill and Mark. Ben Weiss and Scott Melrose bridging film/tv and music. All the agencies we partnered with and then brought in under the tent: AM Only with Paul, Lee, Meyer, Cody; Windish with Tom and Sam Hunt; those super impressive Brits at Coda, Tom, Alex and James. Steve and Ian from X-ray, Garry and Ron from the other Monterey. All the talented, hard-working people who keep the wheels turning, Craig and Stephanie and the legal staff, Ben Scott, Sara Pullman and the ops group, Jess Dennis and Dave Hallybone and the finance/accounting teams across the business, Joe and Steph and Lori. And so many others who taught me, challenged me, collaborated with me. Thank you.
Most importantly, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Sam. Over the years, I’ve watched him always trying to do the right thing when it came to treating people fairly and humanely. In a cutthroat business full of people willing to take shortcuts, Sam stood out as someone who is sensitive, ethical and supportive. It pains me to see the nonsense that’s been put out in the press about him. That’s not the person I know and respect and worked closely with for over a decade.
I especially want to thank Jessica McCrary. Part General Patton, part Mary Poppins, she makes all of it look effortless and fun. Day after day, she kept pointing me in the right direction. I predict great things for her in the future.
Let’s face it, this is a business you get caught up in. It moves fast, it’s always in the current conversation, it requires nerve, strategy, finesse and plain old hard work. It’s been very satisfying to build up the business, help put the pieces together, work with incredibly talented artists, and create something respected and desirable to others in our world. No one saw a global pandemic coming. Nothing emerging from the far side of this will be unchanged. It’s a challenge, but also an opportunity to reimagine so many things: the work environment, how we interact, how we distribute and consume content, how we break careers, how we strategize and manage on a global level. What you have in front of you is a tremendous trauma, and an enormous opportunity.
Paradigm now has to regroup. But the foundation is there, the talent is there, the opportunity to rebuild the business in a new and stronger way is there. All it takes is teamwork and a willingness to see and strive for a better, more hopeful future.
Dealing with all of you on your good and not-so-good days has made the years fly by. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, but I’ve been trying to get to the next chapter of my life for a while, and now is the time. Instead of living in NY and LA, I’ll visit those places, and settle in to doing the things you do on the Maine coast. I have a few mountains, real and metaphorical, I want to climb while I’m still able. Please stay in touch, though. I want to hear about your traumas and triumphs. And of course, I will always be here to give my support or assistance when needed. I’m proud to have worked with you and cherish the friendships that will last past this time. I’ll miss you.
Much Love and Respect,
This exit is far more amicable than others at the agency, a powerhouse in the music touring business. At the start of the coronavirus, Paradigm chief Sam Gores announced “temporary layoffs” of up to 200 staffers, including numerous veteran literary agents. One of them, Debbee Klein, launched a rather contentious lawsuit. Things calmed down on April 6, when Gores sent an internal email that sought to reassure remaining staff about what the future held for the agency. Among the proclamations was that Gores set up an undisclosed amount of “interim financing” to keep the agency afloat for the foreseeable future, set a $1.1 million fund to help those employees on temporary layoff and extended their health coverage through June. Gores also disclosed that he will not take a paycheck for the rest of the year and possibly longer, until the music touring revenue-based agency rebounds in the future.