CAA Pledges Gender Parity on Board, Management Committee by 2020

Longtime agency stops short of ICM Partners’ recent commitment to have equal number of female partners and department heads

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Talent agency CAA has committed to achieving 50-50 gender parity by 2020 in the areas of management and board of directors.

A memo from CAA president Richard Lovett that was sent to staff on Friday does not commit the agency to a 50-50 balance in partners or department heads, unlike a pledge made last week by rival ICM Partners, where approximately 40 percent of its 300 agents and the heads of its 15 departments are female.

CAA also announced the formation of an operations group, which Lovett said, “will be the center of our forward-looking work and thinking.”

A rep for CAA declined to say how many people are on the management committee or the board, and how many women would have to be added to achieve parity.

“We are so grateful to our female colleagues, clients and others across the industry for bringing focus to this necessary and overdue goal,”  Lovett wrote. “Lasting change requires new day-to-day habits. We must act in support of our shared truth: Our business and our lives will be better and stronger if we treat each other the way we wish to be treated.”

Last month, CAA unveiled a pair of operational groups, Finance and People & Culture, comprised of 35 women and men, including many existing department heads and next-generation leaders, who are reporting directly to the Management Committee.

“We have industry thought leaders and executives across all divisions and around the world,” Lovett said. “As our company continues its rapid and successful growth, the new operating groups provide a more structured approach to capitalizing on this unique business advantage, to create greater opportunity for our company and clients. With a rich diversity of voices represented by senior and emerging leaders from a wide variety of professional and personal backgrounds, we will be that much stronger on all operational fronts.”

CAA also elevated Risa Gertner and Sherrie Sage Schwartz to its management committee, the agency announced two weeks ago.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sherrie and Risa to the management team, and are enormously excited about their important contributions in this new role,” Lovett wrote. “Risa is not only a fantastically talented agent, but a proven and respected business leader with an acute understanding of our company, our clients and the marketplace. Sherrie has been an outstanding leader of our people efforts companywide, building a first-class global human resources infrastructure and initiating successful strategic initiatives to improve hiring, training, development, benefits, and ways of working. Risa and Sherrie are extraordinary executives whose voices at the company leadership level will have lasting impact.”

Also, in lieu of its annual pre-Golden Globes party dubbed “The Friday Before,” the agency will redirect that money to a legal defense fund that is currently in formation that will help victims of sexual harassment across all industries.  The agency is downscaling their parties, with the financial resources from what they would allocate to the annual pre-Globes event re-directed to the fund.

Last week, ICM announced that it hopes to add at least 10 additional female partners in the next two years to achieve parity. In addition, they plan to add at least two to three women to its board of directors, which already includes three women.

“It’s not enough to have 50 percent [female] employees,” ICM managing director Chris Silbermann told The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news. “Women have to be equally represented in true positions of leadership and influence throughout the company.”