ICM Lets Go of 3 Literary Agents (Exclusive)

The agency continues to downsize as literary department head Nick Harris is among the agents pushed out

Weeks after ousting Hal Sadoff as head of the international and independent film department, International Creative Management this week let go of several more agents, TheWrap has learned.

That number includes at least three from the literary department at the talent agency. Aaron Hart, Ava Jamshidi and Nick Harris were let go this week. Their contracts were set to expire and ICM decided not to renew them, a knowledgeable individual at the agency told TheWrap.

But the move confirms a pattern of ongoing down-sizing at the agency and replacing veteran talent with younger agents. Sadoff, a longtime agent with deep ties in the independent community, was replaced by a relative newcomer, literary agent Jessica Lacy.

Also read: ICM Drama Over: Agency Reaches Deal to Become Partnership

The move is part of ongoing shifts at ICM, which has been overshadowed in recent years in comparison to larger rivals CAA, WME and UTA.

Last spring ICM combined its TV and film units and put a trio of agents in charge of the new division. The company has also suffered the defection of clients such as Jennifer Lawrence, Barry Levinson, Stephen Moyer and Jonathan Demme to other agencies.

However, it can claim successes. It remains profitable and has fielded more award nominees than rival UTA in recent years, according to one individual close to the agency.  

The agency's structure changed dramatically last December amid what some characterized as infighting between Chairman Jeff Berg and President Chris Silbermann. The new ownership structure, originally championed by Silbermann, operates in a partnership similar to ones employed at many law firms.

The move was part of a transition in which majority shareholder Rizvi Traverse is gradually selling its shares to an agency-wide partnership. 

Read also: Jessica Lacy to Head ICM's International and Independent Film Department

ICM's literary department had long been one of the agency's strongest components. But with the combined clout of William Morris Endeavor and a stronger United Talent Agency, the ICM film department has withered while television – Silbermann's area of expertise – has become the focus of the agency's business.

Harris was co-head of ICM's books-to-film department and joined the agency in 2010 from Mosaic. He and the other two agents will remain at ICM for the remainder of their contracts.

A spokeswoman for ICM declined to comment Thursday night.

More layoffs are expected, according to agency insiders, with some braced for still more turnover in the days to come. However, the agency recently promoted at least eight staffers from coordinators to agents.

The departures free up cash as many of the agents were earning large salaries.