Thirty-year CAA veteran Rob Light has steadily led his agency's industry-topping music division since 1998. With talent in pop, rock, country, R&B/hip-hop, Latin, EDM and comedy, CAA claims more clients among the top 100 touring artists than its next four competitors combined, and was the agency of record for three of the top five 2014 tours: One Direction, The Eagles and Katy Perry.
As head of CAA's music department, the Brooklyn-born "blue collar" sophisticate -- "I've never been a high-fashion, where-do-you-live [person]," he says. "That's why I understand what the masses want" -- oversees 110 agents and executives in four offices, including London.
Given the size of his department -- CAA booked some 28,000 events in 2014 -- Light sought to revive the camaraderie CAA enjoyed as a smaller agency. "Every staff meeting was about bringing back that cohesiveness," says the father of five children (ages 17 to 30), who lives in Encino, Calif., with his wife Shelly.
After watching competitors capitalize on the growth of EDM, Light and CAA have made strong moves to bring in experienced EDM executives and touring talent. The coming year, however, presents a new challenge: For the first time, CAA will be majority-owned by an outside company, as capital investment firm TPG spent $225 million upping its equity stake in the agency (from 35 to 53 percent). "[TPG] didn't buy into us because they wanted to change us," says Light. "They bought into us because of our stability and leadership."
PERFORMANCE THAT MADE ME WANT TO BE IN THE INDUSTRY: "Bruce Springsteen at The Bottom Line, Aug. 15, 1975."
WHAT I COLLECT: "Golf instruction books. I probably have over 1,400 of them, including a couple from the 1700s."