EXCLUSIVE: Exactly two years after Don Buchwald & Assoc. partnered with Michael McConnell and Ben Press’ Fortitude, the two talent agencies are going their separate ways. “Our ability to move forward together was hampered by a difference in business cultures,” Don Buchwald wrote in a memo to the agency’s clients sent out this morning. “We blame no one.” According to the 2011 arrangement between DB&A and Fortitude, Fortitude founders/partners Ben Press and Michael McConnell and DB&A EVP Julia Buchwald served as co-heads of Don Buchwald & Associates/Fortitude’s West Coast operations. Julia Buchwald and her team will continue to oversee DB&A’s Los Angeles-based clients after the split. “We thought this new direction would be helpful for our company,” Don Buchwald told Deadline. “Certainly wish everyone well and good fortune.” He wouldn’t elaborate on the reasons for the breakup though there had been rumors that the relationship between the two outfits wasn’t harmonious. I’ll update with reaction from McConnell and Press when I hear back. According to sources, the two were blindsided by the move, which appears to be unilateral, instigated by DB&A. DB&A, whose New York office is run by Don Buchwald, has a client list that includes top radio and TV personality Howard Stern. Fortitude’s clients include Elle Macpherson.
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