Advisors

Ernest Del

Del brings 28 years of experience in entertainment law representing top talent and executives at major television networks, studios and emerging media companies worldwide. Del also acts as consultant to the Chairman, CEO and other senior management of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Established as one of the most influential and respected figures in entertainment law, Del is the founding partner of the law firm Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. Recently named a Power Lawyer by Hollywood Reporter, Del’s industry insights have graced the pages of publications from The Connected Lawyer to The New York Times.

Del also serves as President and member of the Board of Directors of ZeniMax Media, Inc., a videogame and new media company based in Rockville, Maryland, where he sits with fellow Board members such as renowned producer Jerry Bruckheimer and President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves. He is currently a member of the Los Angeles Board of Governors of the non-profit Paley Center for Media (formerly known as the Museum of Television and Radio). Del graduated with degrees in economics and political science from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his law degree from Stanford University Law School.

Frank Biondi

Biondi is currently Senior Managing Director of WaterView Advisors, a private equity fund manager specializing in media. He was chief executive officer of Universal Studios from 1996 to 1998. During his tenure there, he served on the board of directors of Universal’s parent, The Seagram Company Ltd., as well as the board of USA Networks. From 1987 to 1996, Biondi was chief executive officer of Viacom and a member of its board of directors. Earlier, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Television and chairman and chief executive officer of Home Box Office, a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner.

Biondi currently serves on the boards of Amgen, Harrah’s Entertainment, Hasbro, Cablevision and The Bank of New York. He also is a founding member of the University of Southern California’s Board of Councilors of the School of Cinema-Television and a member of the board of advisors of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.

Biondi earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University.

Jeff Epstein

Jeff Epstein, an Operating Partner in the Menlo Park, CA. office, joined Bessemer in 2011. He focuses on cloud computing, internet advertising technology, and consumer internet opportunities.

Jeff most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Oracle, one of the world’s largest and most profitable technology companies, with a market value of over $150 billion. Prior to joining Oracle, Epstein served as Chief Financial Officer of several public and private companies, including DoubleClick (sold to Google), King World Productions (sold to CBS) and Nielsen’s Media Measurement and Information Group. Earlier in his career, he was a merger and acquisition investment banker at The First Boston Corporation.

He is a Senior Advisor at Oak Hill Capital, a member of the Board of Directors of Priceline.com, where he serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees, a member of the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Stanford University Hospital, and serves on the Management Board of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Jeff holds an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar, and a BA from Yale College, where he graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

Carl Fremont, Global Chief Digital Officer at MEC

Carl works with MEC’s digital leadership and executive management others around the world to develop, grow and drive the agency’s digital business globally, fully integrated within MEC.

Carl plays a leading industry role. As a frequent industry speaker and consultant, he often quoted in the press on his views on the future of marketing and media.

Carl serves on the advisory boards of a select number of digital venture groups and is a consultant for GLG, Guidepoint and Pacific CrestCarl is also a board member of NextMark. Carl was elected to the Ad Club of New York Board of Directors in 2009 and serves as its lead for Media Action, which since its inception has raised over $10MM (US) in scholarship funds for diversity students entering the Marketing and Communications fields.

At Digitas from 2000 to 2013, Carl led the Global Media practice working with clients including America Express, Whirlpool, Delta, Sprint, Mars, Meade Johnson, Taco Bell and eBay.

Prior to joining Digitas, Carl was a Senior Vice President of Media Services at Wunderman. During Carl’s 16 year tenure at Wunderman, he managed all direct marketing activities for the company including Ford, Citibank, American Express and AT&T. At Wunderman.

Carl is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickenson University. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

David Cohen, Chief Media Officer at UM, North America

In his current role as Chief Media Officer, David leads UM’s North America Integrated Investment team across all buying functions. He also continues to lead our global digital community, driving thought leadership and innovation across the UM universe.

David started at UM by launching the digital practice in 2001 as Interactive Media Director, joining UM from Zentropy Partners, a standalone digital marketing consultancy in the IPG family. In 2002, he became a Senior Vice President, overseeing all digital media strategy, planning, buying and analysis operations for the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. In March 2006, he was named US Director of Digital Communications and in April 2011 he was named Global Digital Officer. David was appointed as Chief Media Officer in March 2012.

Under David’s leadership, UM was recognized as one of MediaPost’s Agency of the Year winners for Best Media Planning & Buying. David was also named an “Online All-Star” by Media Magazine. He provides leadership across UM’s roster of clients spanning Automotive, Entertainment, CPG, Retail, Finance, Spirits and Finance categories.

David was elected as the Chair of the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) Digital Marketing Committee in April 2009 and held the position for four years. He has been named a “Media All-Star” by Adweek and was named one of the “Adweek 50” in 2012. He serves on the Global Board of I-COM (International Conference on Media Management) and numerous advisory boards, including Google, AOL, Yahoo, and the Chairman’s Advisory Board of the MPA (The Association of Magazine Media).

David often speaks at seminars and lectures and is frequently quoted in the trade press, as well as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Louis Jones, Chief Executive Officer at Maxus, North America

Louis joined Maxus in the fall of 2009 to lead Maxus to a new data focused, addressability enabled agency model that put digital at the center of communications planning. In this role, Jones shifts Maxus into the spotlight at GroupM, charged with creating the integrated media agency of the future.

Previously, Jones was responsible for Havas Digital’s global services, including product development across the various digital agency networks – including digital, direct response, mobile, systems integration, and creativity. Much of time in this role was spent working from Paris and Madrid in order to be closer to the Network’s European and APAC operations. Prior to this, Louis led three years of double-digit growth for Media Contacts’ US operations as EVP, Managing Director USA. Louis had been a part of the Havas Media family since May 2001.

Before joining MPG in 2001, Louis was Executive Director of Organic Online in San Francisco where he led all online marketing activities for Organic’s West Coast client through the height of the dotcom boom. Louis also served as Managing Director of Diamond Media – the dedicated Clorox media unit housed at Young & Rubicam, San Francisco. His first ten years in advertising were spent at J. Walter Thompson in New York, where he rose to Deputy Media Director before heading to the West Coast.

Carl is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickenson University. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Marc Garbarini, SVP/ECD at Atlanta | D I G I T A S

At present Marc leads two groups of cross disciplined creatives across the DigitasLBi network. As a Group Creative Director in New York he inspires digital marketing ideas for brands such as Travelers, Mondelez and Aetna Healthcare, as well as an AOR status for SunTrust Bank. As the Executive Creative Director of the Atlanta office his focus is new business, growing talent, and bringing innovate thinking to long time client – Delta Airlines.

An Art Director by trade, Marc prides himself on elevating the narrative that lives within each brand and engaging the consumer to take action. Prior to Digitas, Marc worked at Wunderman, McCann-Erickson, Kirshenbaum & Bond, Organic, Grey, and G2, on clients including Mars, Campbell’s Soup Company, MillerCoors, Beech-Nut, Poland Springs, Crisco, and Smucker’s.

Marc has interests, but he cannot remember what they are as he is married with a 13 and 8 year-old boys.

Sean Reardon, President of Strategy at Zenith

Sean’s professional history blends both media and account planning backgrounds, providing a truly unique skill set that ranges across areas of brand strategy, analytical modeling, creative campaign development and hybrid on/offline media planning.

His career began in the mid-90s at FCB- Philadelphia (currently Tierney Communications) where he cut his teeth on regional powerhouse, Bell- Atlantic, and International Management Firm, Deloitte Consulting.
In 1999, he moved to San Francisco, where for the better part of the next decade, Sean drove media and creative strategy on the highest profile accounts at some of the world’s most progressive full-service agencies including Palm at AKQA; Yahoo! at Euro RSCG’s Black Rocket; Hewlett-Packard at Omnicom’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners; and Sprint at Publicis Groupe’s Hal Riney & Partners.

In the spring of 2007, Sean joined Zenith to oversee strategy on the 20th Century Fox account. Over the next four years, his role expanded to also include Ubisoft and Hallmark Channel collectively, providing a rich understanding of the entire entertainment landscape.

In 2010, Sean moved to New York to run Zenith’s Liquid team – a dedicated group of senior level strategic planners whose function is to develop thought leadership tactics that translate into provocative communication planning insights. As Zenith’s President of Strategy, he personally oversees the JPMorgan Chase, Kohl’s, Puma, H&M and Delta accounts and leads a Strategy department of 220+ employees across New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Seattle and San Francisco.

While he considers himself a “big thinker,” Sean is a firm believer that progressive strategies are only as good as the ability to execute upon them. He takes tremendous pride in architecting advanced strategies and translating strategies into actionable game plans that drive clients’ bottom line.

Sean graduated from Penn State University with a degree in business marketing. He lives in Weehawken with his wife Danielle and dog Chewy.

David Schiff

Born and raised in New York, Schiff earned his B.F.A. in music at CalArts. Schiff began his career in the entertainment industry in 1978 at the William Morris Agency in New York. Later that year he transferred to their Beverly Hills office, where he worked as a television agent until 1984. After a two-year stint at International Creative Management, Schiff joined Creative Artists Agency, where he represented such star clients as Sean Connery, Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey Jr, Sting, Virginia Madsen and Ray Liotta.

Schiff left CAA in 1990 and joined other top agents at the startup agency Intertalent, working with clients including Kevin Bacon, Sting, Mark Wahlberg and John Travolta. In 1993, Intertalent was absorbed by United Talent Agency, and Schiff joined the agency as a partner in the talent department.

As one of Hollywood’s top talent agents at UTA, Schiff represented a diverse group of both established and up-and-coming A-list talent, including Harrison Ford, Jeff Bridges, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Danny Glover, Sharon Stone, Wesley Snipes, Bernie Mac, Sting, Ryan Phillipe, Mark Wahlberg and Liv Tyler. Schiff packaged the blockbuster Universal feature 8 MILE, starring Eminem and directed by client Curtis Hanson. Schiff also launched UTA’s modeling division with clients such as Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer, which has successfully developed Christy Turlington’s Nuala line and most recently Gwen Stefani’s clothing line, LAMB.

In April, Schiff left the agency world to start his own management and production company. He continues to manage actors such as Jeff Bridges, Liv Tyler, Wesley Snipes, and Ryan Phillippe, but continues to attract and represent such music talent as Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell Williams due to his expertise in successfully guiding cross-over career aspirations whether it be acting, fashion, video games, or product branding. Schiff also consults for and serves on the advisory board of an Internet start-up called Doppleganger.

Schiff is Co-chair of FOCA (Friends of CalArts). He also sits on the board of InnerSpark (formerly known as California State Summer School for the Arts) and is a member of the CalArts Board of Trustees.

Schiff lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife and three children.

Peter Schlessel

Peter Schlessel has had a varied and entrepreneurial career in the entertainment industry. During his 15 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment (“SPE”), his success consistently resulted in increased executive responsibilities. In 1989, he started at Columbia Pictures as Director of Legal Affairs for RCA/Columbia Home Video. He was then promoted to VP of Business Affairs for Columbia TriStar Home Video, SVP of Acquisitions and Business Affairs for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group (“CTMPG”) and then EVP of Acquisitions, Business Affairs and Co-productions for CTMPG. In 1996, he co-founded Screen Gems, the division of SPE which finances and produces genre, mid-range budget pictures. During his tenure, he supervised over 1000 third-party acquisitions while also being responsible for overseeing the negotiations of the business affairs department, the contract administration department and the programming, marketing and distribution of the pictures acquired through all media. Under Schlessel’s supervision, revenue grew tenfold (to over $300 million dollars) for the acquisition and co-production lines of business.

In 2000, Schlessel was promoted to President of Production. Among his responsibilities were developing scripts, negotiating talent and financing deals, casting and budget controls. In the three years that he was President of Production, Columbia’s box office rank rose from #8 in 2000 to #1 in 2002 (setting a new industry record of $1.57 billion). In the beginning of 2003, Schlessel was promoted to President of Columbia Pictures. He was intimately involved with Columbia’s hits Spiderman, SWAT and The Grudge as well as the critically acclaimed Adaptation (Spike Jonze), Big Fish (Tim Burton) and Something’s Gotta Give (Nancy Meyers). Internationally, he was responsible for Columbia’s acquisition of T3: Rise of the Machines (Jonathan Mostow).

Currently, Schlessel is producing the films HALO (based on the video game), Stay Alive (starring Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong and Sophia Bush), Bobby Z (starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne) and Prey (starring Bridget Moynahan). He is consulting for a number of different companies, including Jeff Skoll’s (co-founder of eBay) Participant Productions, Mandate Pictures (The Grudge, the upcoming Stranger Than Fiction), Evolution Entertainment (Saw) and Endgame Entertainment. In addition, he is executive-producing a children’s yoga musical project entitled “The Ohmies.”

Schlessel is a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, NY and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He began his career at the New York law firm Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett.

James Widdoes

For more than a quarter century, James Widdoes has been crafting quality entertainment for television, the movies and on stage. As an actor, director and producer, he has brought some of the most heartwarming and memorable productions to vivid life. Today he is one of the television’s most active producers and directors, recognized by his peers, critics and the American public for an unbroken string of hit comedies.

James Widdoes began his career as an actor, who may be best remembered as Hoover in the hit film National Lampoon’s Animal House. He also starred with Scott Baio in the CBS series “Charles in Charge” and was seen in many other films and television series.

In addition, he was the recipient of the coveted Theatre World Award for his Broadway debut in the musical Is There Life After High School. He also appeared in the Broadway revival of The Caine Mutiny as well as many other New York and regional productions.

Since moving behind the camera, Widdoes has directed over 300 television episodes, including the pilots of “Dave’s World,” and “Some of My Best Friends” for CBS; “Boston Common,” “In the House,” “Something So Right,” and “The Fighting Fitzgeralds” for NBC; “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” and “Brother’s Keeper” for ABC; “Getting Personal,” and “Holding the Baby” for FOX; and “Movie Stars,” “The Wayans Brothers,” “All About the Andersons” and “Reba,” starring Reba McEntire for the WB.

Widdoes has also been the Executive Producer/Director of many half-hour television shows, the most recent being “8 Simple Rules” for ABC. Others include “Dave’s World,” which ran on CBS for four seasons. This was followed by “Can’t Hurry Love,” starring Nancy McKeon, also for CBS. He has also been Executive Producer/Director of “Manhattan Man” for FOX, “Late Bloomer” for CBS, “Brother’s Keeper” for ABC, “Movie Stars” for the WB, “Some of My Best Friends” for CBS and “All About the Andersons” for the WB. He has directed numerous episodes of “The King of Queens” for CBS as well. Widdoes has also been the series director for two of the recent winners of the People’s Choice Awards for Best New Comedy, “My Wife & Kids” starring Damon Wayans and “8 Simple Rules”, for which he received a DGA Award nomination for the ‘Goodbye’ episode dealing with the death of John Ritter’s character.

Outside of the workplace, Widdoes serves on the Board of Trustees of Turningpoint School in Los Angeles, where he was the Chair for 6 years. Additionally, he is a Trustee of the Loomis-Chaffee School in Connecticut, a former Board member of Camp Dudley, the oldest boys’ camp in America, and a former member of the Head Trustee Committee of the California Association of Independent Schools.

Rich LeFurgy

Rich LeFurgy was previously Senior Vice President of the Buena Vista Internet Group, where he oversaw online advertising sales for ESPN.com, ABCNews.com, Disney Online, NBA.com, and NFL.com. Rich started one of the first online advertising sales organizations at Starwave in Seattle, where he helped launch ESPNSportsZone in 1995. Before Starwave, he was Executive Vice President and Senior Partner at NW Ayer & Partners in New York from 1978 to 1995. LeFurgy led integrated advertising, direct and event marketing programs for clients such as AT&T, Marriott, Folgers Instant Coffee, Gillette Right Guard, Avon, Burger King, Ralston Purina, and 7UP.

Mr. LeFurgy is a member of a number of industry associations. In the spring of 1996, he helped found the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an organization that promotes effective online advertising. He was elected as IAB Director and Chairman for five years from 1996-2001, and is currently a Director and a member of the Executive Committee. Rich also helped organize the Procter & Gamble FAST (Future of Advertising Stakeholder) Summit initiative in the summer of 1998 to help accelerate the use of digital advertising. He was Chairman of the FAST Steering Committee from 1998-2000, the successor FAST organization that is helping oversee the development of a broad range of voluntary guidelines for the industry, and is a Director of the Advertising Education Foundation as well as a former Director of the Advertising Research Foundation.

LeFurgy holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.

Julie Thompson

Specializing in advising on strategic advertising industry relations. Former head of corporate affairs for Leo Burnett Worldwide, overseeing the agency’s worldwide profile, both within the advertising industry and the larger business and media communities domestically and internationally. Board member and advisor to Advertising Week and the AAAA.