CAA to Undergo Significant Layoffs Amid Pandemic

by Erik Hayden
THR
July 28, 2020

Until today, the Century City-based firm had been the only major talent agency to avoid pandemic-related staff cuts.

Since Hollywood's film and TV shutdown in mid-March, the industry's representation business has taken a financial hit. On Tuesday, CAA became the latest major agency to disclose plans for layoffs and furloughs amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"Effective this week, approximately 90 agents and executives from departments across the agency will be leaving. In addition, we are furloughing approximately 275 assistants and other staff. The company will continue to fully pay the health plan premiums for those being furloughed," a CAA spokesperson said. 

Among the agents and executives impacted, employees in cross-division functions like finance and information technology departments were also affected. Impacted CAA employees will be compensated and will receive benefits through September 30. 

The cuts are notable in that CAA, which has about 2,100 total staffers, had been the only major talent agency to avoid a significant round of layoffs amid the pandemic. In April, the agency said that it would be implementing proportionate companywide pay cuts in order to stave off furloughs, with co-chairmen Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane pledging to forgo salaries for the rest of 2020.

On May 4, S&P Global lowered CAA's credit rating from a "B+" to "B." While the financial services firm noted that CAA "will maintain sufficient liquidity to service all of its debt obligations" its forecast also noted that the agency's "represented talent are being directly affected by these disruptions because they are not receiving compensation."

Many Hollywood companies have implemented layoffs and pay cuts amid the pandemic-era halt in filming, and the major agencies were not immune. In May, WME said it would lay off and furlough 20 percent of its workforce and its parent company, Endeavor, which has a workforce of 7,500 staffers, let go 83 staffers at its Beverly Hills location alone. 

After implementing pay cuts, UTA also began furloughing employees in May, with the agency temporarily laying off 171 staffers in Beverly Hills, per a disclosure with the California Employment Development Department. "We had hoped the salary reductions we all took would be sufficient, but at this point we must take this additional step," UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer wrote in a May 4 memo.

The Century City-based ICM Partners, which employs more than 500, said on June 26 that it would lay off 40 support staffers in a reorganization that would aim to raise assistant pay. And APA talent agency, on June 30, said that it was implementing an unspecified number of furloughs as well as pay cuts to its workforce of 300. 

Earlier in the pandemic, in March, Paradigm announced that it was implementing pay cuts and furloughs for its 600-plus employees, with the agency later disclosing to the state of California that it temporarily laid off 130 staffers. 

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