Jeff Berg on Leaving ICM, Starting New Talent Agency: ‘I’m Not Interested in Retiring’ (Exclusive)

Jeff Berg tells TheWrap: "I’m not interested in retiring. I’m interested in building and creating value"

Jeff Berg, the veteran talent agent and former chairman of ICM, told TheWrap on Friday that he would be starting a new talent agency within weeks and had no interest in retiring despite a rich buyout after more than 35 years in the business.

ICM announced Berg’s departure on Friday, and the agency's former chairman and CEO told TheWrap: “I’ve raised money, I will be one of the investors. That’s the path I’m going on.“

Executives close to the agency told TheWrap on Friday that longtime leader Berg was fired after they found out he was planning to launch a new agency. Berg would not confirm the report, nor would he comment on whether veteran agent Carol Bodie, who also left ICM on Friday, would be joining him in his new venture.

Also read: Jeff Berg Leaves ICM Partners

Berg scored a multimillion-dollar payout in May when ICM partners bought out his stake in ICM and that of investor Rizvi Traverse. It became a partnership, and while Berg stayed on as an agent, he was no longer a partner.

He told TheWrap at the time that he had been open to staying at ICM after the buyout, but realized that he and the partners were headed in different directions. An individual with knowledge of the new company said it would be announced within the next two weeks, and was being financed by Berg and a single high net worth individual.

Berg also said he did not consider retirement as an option after 27 years as chairman and CEO of the talent agency.

“That’s not who I am,” he said. “I’m a doer. I’m a worker. I’m a thoroughly engaged guy. I’m not interested in retiring. I’m interested in building and creating value.”

Also read: Jon Hamm Rep Carol Bodie Out at ICM Partners 

It was unclear whether Berg’s high-profile clients of many decades, including Al Pacino and Roman Polanski, would follow, but it seemed likely they would do so.

The individual said the new agency would not only focus on Berg’s specialty in film, but would be dealing with television, music and theater.