Ariel Zev “Ari” Emanuel is the co-CEO of WME-IMG, the multi-billion dollar talent agency whose subsidiaries include the model management firm IMG Models, representing the likes of Gisele Bundchen and Gigi Hadid . As the CEO of WME-IMG, Emanuel is tasked with operating numerous fashion weeks globally.
As the youngest of three brothers, Emanuel was born in Chicago, Illinois to a pediatrician father and civil rights activist mother. Having attended Maccalester 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. Upon leaving ICM, Emanuel founded his own company, Endeavor Agency. In 2009, Emanuel and Endeavor executive Patrick Whitesell 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 the formation of WME-IMG.
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 Collections Men, London Fashion Weekend, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Istabul, Lakmé Fashion Week (Mumbai), and Swim Week in Miami. Additionally, IMG fashion commercial represents and consults on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia (Moscow), INYT Luxury Conference, British Fashion Awards, and WGSN Global Fashion Awards. As of 2016, WME-IMG is valued at $5.5 billion.
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.