December 15, 2004

UCLA’s Entertainment and Media Management Institute Brings William Morris’ Walter Zifkin to Campus as an Industry Fellow

Hollywood Veteran Shares his Expertise with UCLA Anderson MBA Students

The Entertainment and Media Management Institute at UCLA Anderson School of Management has named Walter Zifkin, CEO Emeritus of the William Morris Agency, as the Institute’s first Industry Fellow.  Zifkin, a UCLA alumnus who has been very involved with entertainment efforts at UCLA Anderson for much of the past year, will share his expertise with students in UCLA Anderson’s full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs.

To date, Zifkin, who will serve as an Industry Fellow for the Fall 2004 and Winter 2005 academic quarters, has participated in several classes and seminars at UCLA Anderson.  He has launched an advanced student Leadership Seminar series with a select group of 15 MBA and FEMBA students, discussing the real challenges of being CEO in a creative, service-driven business.  He also will be appearing as a Distinguished Speaker in the school’s Executive MBA Program in January. 

Zifkin’s supportive engagement with UCLA Anderson precedes this current honor.  Last year, Zifkin hosted a group of MBA students at his home as part of the school’s successful “Dinner for 8” program, which brings eight UCLA Anderson MBA students together with a business executive to discuss business and management issues.  He also has been a popular and engaging guest lecturer for Negotiations Behavior courses. 

Zifkin’s expertise in negotiations includes not only his professional experiences as chief of a top talent and literacy agency, but also his appointment as a Special Master by the U.S. District Court in New York — a role in which he worked pro bono, conducting Austrian Holocaust settlement discussions.  His efforts successfully resolved slave and forced labor claims, allowing compensation and justice to more speedily reach elderly Holocaust survivors.

 “We launched the Industry Fellows program as a way to recognize top-level executives who take time and energy to give back and share with our student community,” said Gigi Johnson, executive director of the Entertainment and Media Management Institute at UCLA Anderson. 

The Industry Fellows program provides an opportunity for senior executives in the entertainment industry to share their expertise in leadership and management inside and outside the entertainment business.  UCLA Anderson MBA students gain insight from executives by learning about their experiences in a number of areas, including:

  • Real-world challenges as leaders of complex, changing businesses
  • Negotiation of their own industry and career paths
  • Perspectives on the accelerating complexities of the media and entertainment industries
  • Abilities to adapt to transforming entertainment and media business models

“We’re pleased to have someone of Walter Zifkin’s prominence share his knowledge with our MBA students,” said Bruce G. Willison, dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management.  “The Industry Fellows program helps students connect the theories they learn in the classroom to practical experiences in the corporate world and beyond.”

“We’re excited to engage other senior industry senior executives as Industry Fellows in the future, though Walter is setting quite a high bar of with our students,” added Johnson.

Bio Brief of Walter Zifkin, CEO Emeritus, William Morris Agency

Walter Zifkin, a UCLA graduate, began his career at William Morris in 1963 after working in the CBS legal department.  He shifted into management at the William Morris Agency in 1966.  Mr. Zifkin was named corporate vice president in 1975, then executive vice president in 1980, when he joined the board of directors.  He was promoted to chief operating officer in 1989.

In 1992, Mr. Zifkin was the chief architect of William Morris' acquisition of Triad Artists, the largest merger of two talent agencies in entertainment history.  In April of 1997, he was named the firm’s CEO; and in 2003, Mr. Zifkin was named CEO Emeritus upon his 40th anniversary with the company.

Mr. Zifkin has additional perspective and experience from his community involvement, which includes service on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Cedars-Sinai Health System, the Board of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services and the Board of the Los Angeles Police Foundation.  He has been a member of the Mayor's Economic Advisory Council for the City of Beverly Hills, the Board of Overseers of The University of Pennsylvania's Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and, more recently, he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Overseers.  In May 2004, Mr. Zifkin was appointed by Mayor James Hahn to the Board of Airport Commissioners, which is the governing body for LAX, Ontario, Van Nuys and Palmdale airports.

About William Morris Agency
Founded in 1898, the William Morris Agency is the largest and most diversified talent and literary agency in the world, with principal offices in New York, Beverly Hills, Nashville, London and Miami Beach.  The Agency represents clients in all segments of the entertainment industry, including Motion Pictures, Television, Music and Personal Appearances, Broadway Theatre and Theatrical Touring, Book Publishing, Commercial Endorsements, Sports Marketing, and Corporate Consulting.

About Entertainment and Media Management Institute (EMMI)
The Entertainment and Media Management Institute brings together industry professionals, MBA students and UCLA Anderson faculty and doctoral student researchers to exchange and embrace new ideas for managing and thriving in the face of transforming entertainment and media business models.  With the growth of the entertainment industry and the impact of technology, globalization and deregulation on both content and distribution, EMMI will serve as a key center of influence helping organizations adapt to change in this important global arena.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is perennially ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.  UCLA Anderson students are part of a culture that values individual vision, intellectual discipline and a sense of teamwork and collegiality.

Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson School of Management provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs.  Recognizing that the school offers unparalleled expertise in management education, the world's business community turns to UCLA Anderson School of Management as a center of influence for the ideas, innovations, strategies and talent that will shape the future.

Contact Information

Philip Little, (310) 825-9983, philip.little@anderson.ucla.edu

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