Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Publishing: Agent Provocateur

ShareThis

Keen publishing eyes have been watching William Morris for the past few months. There was the bloodletting in June and July, when the agency's 800-pound gorilla, Robert Gottlieb, rolled over a few of his young. "I'd prefer to call them departures," says international literary head Owen Laster. Gottlieb, notorious for his bullying behavior, had a 1995 stare-down with Random House's Alberto Vitale over rights to book text in CD-roms -- a bruising battle that proved pointless. (Buy any good CD-roms lately?) In August, Gottlieb tried a repeat performance with Michael Ovitz after Ovitz signed Gottlieb's star client, Tom Clancy. "Mike Ovitz has put his company in an adversarial position," Gottlieb said in the Times. "I believe it is open season on him." But William Morris didn't back up the threat, and Gottlieb left in September. "He was not fired," says the agency's new president and co-CEO, Jim Wiatt. "His contract was up and he wanted to do something different." William Morris has just announced its acquisition of the Writers Shop, run by Virginia Barber (Peter Mayle's agent) and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh (Ethan Hawke's agent, pictured). The 33-year-old Walsh, whom Wiatt has installed in Gottlieb's former post, is widely recognized as brash ("I know I'm an acquired taste," she admits) and ambitious ("A dream of mine is to open an office in every single market around the world"). And she hints that her move will set off more industry instability. "There are people I've been watching for some time," she says of her plans to hire. "I am willing to tie my success or failure to them."


Related:

Advertising
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York
Subscribe

Give a Gift

Advertising