Classical business: return of the fraudstermain
Barrett Wissmann, disgraced owner of the talent agency IMG Artists, was forced to step down from his front-office role after he copped a state prosecutor’s plea to securities fraud involving the state pension fund in upstate New York.
But you can’t keep a fixer down. Six months ago, Barrett secured a Russian investor to help save the classical business. This week, he’s declared he’s coming back as co-chairman after retiring his frontman Charles Hamlen and sharing the company 50-50 with his Russian saviour, Alexander Shustorovich.
Two questions arise:
1 Will the International Arts Managers Association (IAMA) welcome Barrett back with a bouquet of roses, having previously insisted on his retirement?
2 How long will the happy couple enjoy their 50-50 split? About as long, I guess, as the first boardoom disagreement, after which things will either go one way or the other with stains on the carpet and the loser on the street.
Oh, and one further question. I hear Alex – a nice enough chap, by all accounts – is taking a leading role in IMG’s brand-new Moscow office. Was it, I wonder, he who fixed it with the Ministry of Culture for IMG Artist Vladimir Jurowski to ride in as rescuer of the Svetlanov State Symphony Orchestra?
Any answers? Here’s the IMG Artists statement.
(The diva on his right is Angela Georghiu. She seems to enjoy Barrett’s company).