CAA Elevates James Burtson to President, Carol Sawdye Joins as CFO

Umberto Gonzalez
·2-min read

Creative Artists Agency has elevated James Burtson, previously the company’s Chief Financial Officer, to President, and Carol Sawdye, previously Chief Operating Officer of PwC, will join as Chief Financial Officer, the agency announced on Thursday.

Richard Lovett, Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd will continue in their roles as CAA Co-Chairmen.

“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,” says Lovett in a statement to TheWrap. “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.”

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In Sawdye’s COO role at PwC, she led the global network operations team, driving the budgeting, financial planning and investments processes across its network of over 284,000 people in 155 countries. She began her career at PwC, spending 17 years in its media and entertainment practice before serving as Chief Operating Officer of global law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and later CFO and Executive Vice President of the NBA.

In addition to overseeing Sawdye and her management of CAA’s financial operations, Burtson will lead the company’s strategy for the growth and evolution of CAA’s representation business and the continued diversification of the company. His priorities will include the company’s investment in existing and new business initiatives, while continuing to have primary oversight for, and represent CAA on the boards of, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG), CAA China, CAA-Global Brands Group, and Connect Ventures, the agency’s recently launched early-stage consumer investment joint venture with New Enterprise Associates.

Burtson joined CAA as CFO in 2015 from Time Warner, Inc., where he oversaw the company’s global mergers & acquisitions efforts, and previously the company’s Investor Relations efforts. Prior to rejoining Time Warner in 2002, Burtson worked at Clear Channel Communications, where he served as senior vice president of strategic development and CFO of the company’s online business. Burtson previously worked for J.P. Morgan & Co. as an investment banker and began his career at Time Warner as a financial analyst in corporate finance and M&A. He earned an M.B.A. in Finance and a B.A. in History from Columbia University.

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