Paradigm President Greg Bestick is retiring from the talent agency effective immediately, the company said on Friday.
“Greg played a vital role in the agency’s growth and successes. I am forever grateful to him. I could not have asked for a more capable executive and counsel these past eleven years,” Paradigm CEO Sam Gores said in a statement. “Greg and I have become close friends, and I wish him the happiest, most well-deserved retirement as we look to write Paradigm’s next chapter.”
Bestick joined Paradigm in 2009 as a consultant. He said in a memo to staff that he is retiring from full-time work and looking forward to moving on to the next phase of his life. The talent agency has yet to name a replacement.
“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Sam. In a cutthroat business full of people willing to take shortcuts, Sam stood out as someone who is sensitive, ethical and supportive,” Bestick said in his note. “What you have in front of you is a tremendous trauma, and an enormous opportunity. Paradigm now has to regroup. But the foundation is there, the talent is there, the opportunity to rebuild the business in a new and stronger way is there. All it takes is teamwork and a willingness to see and strive for a better, more hopeful future.”
Bestick’s departure comes during a difficult period for Paradigm as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to put a strain on the business.
Paradigm let 250 staff members go on March 20 and enacted pay cuts for remaining employees. The company’s movie, TV and music departments were particularly hard hit. And in a letter to Paradigm staff earlier this month, Gores said the agency had secured “interim financing” to get it through the current crisis, also saying he would forgo his full salary for the rest of 2020 as an additional cost-saving measure.
The agency has also recently been thrust into a $2 million lawsuit with former agent Debbee Klein, who accused the talent agency and CEO Sam Gores of, among other things, breach of oral contract and whistleblower retaliation. She also accused Gores of using “Paradigm’s expense account as a slush fund to pay for his sexual dalliances with prostitutes.”
Paradigm has countersued and denies all of the allegations in Klein’s suit, calling it “self-aggrandizing and delusional” and an “Uzi-like complaint only notable for its mendacity.”
Read Bestick’s memo to staff below:
In February of 2009, I came to work at Paradigm on a three-month consulting contract. Three months and eleven very fulfilling years later, I’m moving on to the next phase of my life and retiring from full time work. This was the longest time I’d ever spent at one job in my life. By far. What kept me tied to this particular place for so long?
Mainly it was the people. So many who are not only capable and talented workers, but genuinely good human beings. Fargo and Metzger and Tantleff and the whole New York crew. Monterey, the foundation of our music business, Dan and Fred and Chip and Jonathan and that whole next generation of Pinkus, Hasson, Atamian, Greisch, McSwiggin, Nalpant, Schultz and on and on. The other music foundation, in New York, Marty, Larry, then Galle and Marquis and all they built up over the years. The talent and lit people in LA, Rand and Andrew and Alisa and Andy and Bill and Mark. Ben Weiss and Scott Melrose bridging film/tv and music. All the agencies we partnered with and then brought in under the tent: AM Only with Paul, Lee, Meyer, Cody; Windish with Tom and Sam Hunt; those super impressive Brits at Coda, Tom, Alex and James. Steve and Ian from X-ray, Garry and Ron from the other Monterey. All the talented, hard-working people who keep the wheels turning, Craig and Stephanie and the legal staff, Ben Scott, Sara Pullman and the ops group, Jess Dennis and Dave Hallybone and the finance/accounting teams across the business, Joe and Steph and Lori. And so many others who taught me, challenged me, collaborated with me. Thank you.
Most importantly, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Sam. Over the years, I’ve watched him always trying to do the right thing when it came to treating people fairly and humanely. In a cutthroat business full of people willing to take shortcuts, Sam stood out as someone who is sensitive, ethical and supportive. It pains me to see the nonsense that’s been put out in the press about him. That’s not the person I know and respect and worked closely with for over a decade.
I especially want to thank Jessica McCrary. Part General Patton, part Mary Poppins, she makes all of it look effortless and fun. Day after day, she kept pointing me in the right direction. I predict great things for her in the future.
Let’s face it, this is a business you get caught up in. It moves fast, it’s always in the current conversation, it requires nerve, strategy, finesse and plain old hard work. It’s been very satisfying to build up the business, help put the pieces together, work with incredibly talented artists, and create something respected and desirable to others in our world. No one saw a global pandemic coming. Nothing emerging from the far side of this will be unchanged. It’s a challenge, but also an opportunity to reimagine so many things: the work environment, how we interact, how we distribute and consume content, how we break careers, how we strategize and manage on a global level. What you have in front of you is a tremendous trauma, and an enormous opportunity.
Paradigm now has to regroup. But the foundation is there, the talent is there, the opportunity to rebuild the business in a new and stronger way is there. All it takes is teamwork and a willingness to see and strive for a better, more hopeful future.
Dealing with all of you on your good and not-so-good days has made the years fly by. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, but I’ve been trying to get to the next chapter of my life for a while, and now is the time. Instead of living in NY and LA, I’ll visit those places, and settle in to doing the things you do on the Maine coast. I have a few mountains, real and metaphorical, I want to climb while I’m still able. Please stay in touch, though. I want to hear about your traumas and triumphs. And of course, I will always be here to give my support or assistance when needed. I’m proud to have worked with you and cherish the friendships that will last past this time. I’ll miss you.
Much Love and Respect,