Ariel Zev “Ari” Emanuel is the co-chief executive of Endeavor Talent Agency, the multi-billion-dollar talent agency whose subsidiaries include the Wall Group, Art + Commerce, M2M, Made and the model management firm IMG Models, which represents the likes of Gisele Bundchen and Gigi Hadid . As the chief executive of Endeavor, Emanuel is tasked with operating numerous fashion weeks globally.
The youngest of three brothers, Emanuel was born in Chicago to a paediatrician father and civil rights activist mother. Having attended Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, Emanuel moved to Los Angeles upon graduation to begin his career in the entertainment industry as an agent at CAA in 1987.
In 1990, Emanuel left CAA to join Intertalent as a partner. After a two-year tenure at Intertalent, Emanuel joined ICM Partners as a senior agent, representing high-profile clients until 1995, when he left to found his own company, Endeavor Agency. In 2009, Emanuel and Endeavor co-chief executive Patrick Whitesell (now co-chief executive of Endeavor) orchestrated a merger with The William Morris Agency, effectively forming WME. In May of 2014, WME acquired IMG through a $2.4 billion cash purchase, resulting in WME-IMG. In October 2017 WME-IMG changed its name to Endeavor and acts as a holding company for all owned brands.
In addition to New York Fashion Week, IMG’s global portfolio of fashion events include Milan Fashion Weeks, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, London Fashion Week, London Fashion Week Men’s, London Fashion Weekend, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Istanbul and Lakmé Fashion Week (Mumbai). Additionally, IMG represents and consults on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia (Moscow) and INYT Luxury Conference. In August 2017, Endeavor was valued at $6.3 billion including debt.
Looking into the future, Emanuel seeks to tap into the unexplored commercial value of live events. In late 2015, Emanuel began working with the mobile app Heed, which uses web-enabled sensors at New York Fashion Week, to grant users virtual backstage admission, as well as unlocking immediate access to runway images and lookbooks. As one of the key players in the fashion industry, Emanuel is keen on expanding his sports-fashion empire globally, particularly in places like India and China, as well as revolutionising the fashion industry through technological innovation.
In March 2019, there were reports that Endeavor was readying an initial public offering (IPO) for as early as the end of that year.