George Pyne To Leave WME-Owned IMG, Seeks Financing For New Venture (Exclusive)

The president of IMG Sports and Entertainment is the latest on the way out

Drip, drip. After a series of exits at the WME-owned IMG sports talent and marketing agency, word now comes that yet another senior executive is exiting.

George Pyne, president of IMG Sports and Entertainment, will be leaving the agency in the near future, and is out raising money to launch an independent venture, according to multiple executives with knowledge of his plans.

Also read: Another Exec Leaves Ari Emanuel’s IMG: Growing Pains or a ‘Slow-Motion Car Crash’?

A WME-IMG executive said that Pyne will remain a senior adviser to IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, and that the time of his exit is not yet determined.

Pyne is working with Allen & Co. managing director Kaveh Khosrowshahi to raise $250 million to start a rival sports agency, two individuals told TheWrap. Pyne is a formidable talent, and is the latest to leave the sports marketing giant in the post-Mike Dolan world.

Pyne is on IMG’s board of directors in addition to running one of the most important divisions of the company. He was recruited in 2006 by then-CEO Teddy Forstmann to run sports and entertainment. In that role, he oversees client management, college sports, consulting, IMG Performance (IMG Academy), licensing and U.S. business development.

Also read: Ari Emanuel’s Bad Week at IMG: CFO Peter Klein Exits, Multimillion-Dollar Kentucky Deal Flames Out

He is also on the board of 24 Hour Fitness and the National Football Foundation.

An IMG executive just last month told TheWrap that Pyne would be continuing in his current role after the exit of David Abrutyn, a 15-year veteran of the marketing giant and their global head of consulting.

Abrutyn gave no explanation for his decision to leave the agency, and that came on the heels of the abrupt exit ¬†of CFO Peter Klein — just two months officially into his job — a key executive who brokered the financing of the $2.4 billion deal between WME and Silver Lake Partners to buy IMG.

As TheWrap wrote at the time, Pyne currently serves as “the dam break between Patrick (Whitesell) and Bill Sutton who runs the college division,” said the insider. “The feeling is George will leave by the end of the year. He’ll want to get out ahead of the bad news.”

IMG recently lost some major college accounts, including the University of Kentucky recently, but also just signed Harvard University as a new client.