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CAA Shakeup: 5 Agents Exit to Become Partners at UTA

Jason Heyman, Martin Lesak, Gregory McKnight, Greg Cavic and Nick Nuciforo are switching sides

Former CAA agents Jason Heyman, Martin Lesak, Gregory McKnight, Greg Cavic and Nick Nuciforo have joined UTA as agents and partners of the agency, TheWrap has learned.

Representatives for CAA and UTA did not immediately respond to requests for comment, which quickly prompted an official announcement from UTA.

Heyman will also serve as a Special Advisor to UTA’s Board of Directors, while Nuciforo will head the agency’s comedy touring division.

As a group, Heyman, Lesak, McKnight, Cavic and Nuciforo represent leading artists working in film, television, digital and comedy touring. Their clients are expected to follow them to UTA.

Those clients include Chris Pratt and Will Ferrell, who have already defected, as well as Melissa McCarthy, to name another whose fate is not so clear.

“Jason, Marty, Gregory, Greg and Nick are among the most respected agents in our industry,” said UTA managing directors David Kramer, Jay Sures and Jeremy Zimmer in a joint statement. “We’re excited to have them join UTA’s collaborative culture, and we know that they and their clients will thrive here.”

Heyman and Lesak are returning to UTA where they were previously partners. The group joins the UTA partnership which recently promoted eight additional agents to partner. UTA has nearly 200 agents working in Beverly Hills and New York.

The exodus was followed later in the day by the departures of agents Susie Fox, John Sacks and Joanna Scott. Sacks and Fox represent writers and talent across film and television, while Scott works in the touring area.

The CAA-UTA rivalry has escalated this past week, starting with UTA’s signing of Grammy-winning artist Kanye West away from CAA, as TheWrap first reported. The total number of defecting agents may grow to 12 if Rachel Rusch, Chelsea McKinnies, Matt Blake and Ryan Abboushi join UTA from CAA as expected.

Today’s defections represent a major blow to the culture at CAA, which is no doubt already planning its retaliation, according to industry observers with knowledge of the volatile situation.

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