Jim Burtson and Carol Sawdye (CAA)
CAA has promoted Jim Burtson to the post of president, a move that is another sign of generational changes at the agency.
CAA’s trio of co-chairmen — Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett — are staying put. But Lovett is giving up the president title that he has held since 1995.
“The primary role of CAA President is understanding that leading is actually serving, and throughout his tenure with CAA, Jim has been tireless in his pursuit of furthering the company’s interests,” said Lovett. “He is a world-class leader with profound insight into the opportunities ahead as the media, sports and technology landscapes, and CAA itself, continue to evolve. Jim has been an essential partner to us in every way since the day he joined five years ago, helping drive the tremendous growth of our diversified and global platform. His genuine, collaborative nature, high regard among colleagues, and deep connection to our client-focused purpose, position him and CAA for even greater success in the years ahead.”
Burtson’s promotion is part of a broadening of management functions at CAA over the past year. In November, the agency hired USC alum Dr. Sharoni Little as head of global inclusion strategy and Tyrone Bland, formerly of Herbalife, as head of U.S. government affairs.
Burtson’s charter is to focus on the company’s business growth initiatives and its interests in such operations as CAA China, Entertainment Benefits Group, CAA Global Brands Group, Connect Ventures and the newly launched investment vehicle New Enterprise Associates. He is gaining authority but sources stressed that the triumvirate of Huvane, Lourd and Lovett are still firmly in charge and engaged.
“In an ever more global and complex environment, there has never been more demand for CAA’s insight and services. We will continue to invest in expanding our capabilities and operations to meet the challenges of the changing business landscape while creating and capturing broader opportunities for our clients and partners,” said Burtson. “I am thrilled to play a larger role, alongside the entire leadership team, to chart the agency’s future for everyone at CAA as well as our clients at this transformational moment in our business.”
Burtson has been chief financial officer for CAA since 2015. To fill his role as CFO, the agency has recruited former PWC chief operating officer Carol Sawdye.
Sawdye has held multiple senior management roles at PWC, including the post of vice chairman and CFO prior to being elevated to COO. She also served as exec VP and CFO of the NBA and as CFO of law firm Skadden Arps.
“Carol brings a wealth of strategic, financial and operational experience, coupled with a deep understanding of what it means to lead in a global service organization,” Burtson said.
Variety's Cynthia Littleton contributed to this post.