SBD/July 8, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Wasserman Profiled As Power Player In Sports, But Some Question "Nice-Guy Persona"

Wasserman believes his agency can double in size over the next five years
Wasserman Media Group Chair & CEO CASEY WASSERMAN has "become a big deal behind the scenes in his hometown" of L.A., according to Brooks Barnes of the N.Y. TIMES, who profiled him in a business section front-page piece under the header, "A Sports Agent With Hollywood In His Blood." WMG is now a $150M business and "one of the largest sports agencies in the world." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said, "There’s a sense of permanence about Casey. You know you are going to be dealing with him for a very long time." Wasserman also "sits at the center of continued efforts to build a stadium" that would bring the NFL back to L.A. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "His influence extends far beyond what you see on the surface." Wasserman said of being the grandson of former MCA/Universal Chair & CEO LEW WASSERMAN, "Growing up with means gives a person one important thing, which is the ability to make choices. ... Good choices or bad, those are all on me." Wasserman was "early to spot the potential of action sports, and that division of his firm has grown from an $800,000 annual business a decade ago to a $16 million one today." His company has "made at least 10 significant acquisitions over the last decade." Wasserman thinks that his agency has "enough internal momentum to double in size over the next five years." He has "privately told confidants" that he may be interested in pieces of IMG. Wasserman said that "becoming bigger brings problems along with rewards." He added, "The chances that one person could make a big mistake increase, and that keeps me up at night."

TOUGH AT THE TOP
: While "almost no one will say anything negative about him on the record -- perhaps a sign of how influential he has become -- some of his fellow Hollywood scions in particular grouse that Mr. Wasserman’s nice-guy persona is a well-practiced shtick." A few current and former employees say that he "can be controlling, aloof and impatient." Others "fault his decision at 18 to change his surname to Wasserman from Myers, calling it a cynical effort to capitalize on his grandfather’s legacy." Wasserman said of that notion, "If I had any interest in trading on my grandfather’s success, I didn’t need to change my name to do it" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/7).
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