Yesterday it was reported that IMG Worldwide (IMG) Chairman and CEO Theodore J. (Ted) Forstmann passed away at 71-years-old. The cause of death was brain cancer. Forstmann will be remembered for his unique ability to invest in companies (including Dr Pepper and Topps), fix them up, make them immensely valuable, and then sell them to make big profits for himself and the investors who bought into his plan. He was also a noble philanthropist who donated millions of dollars, mostly focusing on ways to benefit various classes of children.
For numerous years, dating back to when Mark McCormack served as Chairman of IMG (when it was referred to as International Management Group), the company was the staple of the sports agent world. Throughout the company’s existence, it has represented some of the best football players (Peyton Manning), baseball players (Derek Jeter), golfers (Tiger Woods), and tennis players (Roger Federer). When Ted Forstmann bought the company for $750 million, Peter Johnson was fired, IMG’s team-sports division was scrapped (Manning, Jeter, et. al. went elsewhere for representation in team contract matters), and some its top agents moved on to other agencies, most of whom ended up at Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
IMG reinvented itself under Forstmann to focus more on its media and entertainment services. It did not take long for IMG profits to become much larger than they had been prior to Forstmann’s takeover in 2004. Whereas IMG used to be most well known for its representation of athletes, it is now acknowledged for its success with IMG College (collegiate marketing, licensing and media rights), its joint ventures in emerging markets overseas, its fantastic events, and large licensing and consulting arms.
Forstmann graduated from Yale University and received a J.D. from Columbia University. He is survived by his two sons Siya and Everest. IMG asks, in lieu of flowers to Forstmann’s family, please consider donations to The Children’s Scholarship Fund.