Gibbs is the first Black music department head of a major agency.
Robert Gibbs has been promoted to head of contemporary music at ICM Partners, joining the agency’s music leadership team that includes head of worldwide concerts Rob Prinz, music co-head Mark Siegel and head of worldwide music Steve Levine. The promotion makes Gibbs the first Black executive to serve as the head of music department at a major agency. Gibbs joined the agency from CAA in 2006 and was made partner in 2016.
“Robert is a fabulous agent, individual and an impactful leader. I am very proud of him and all that he has accomplished in his fourteen years at ICM,” says CEO Chris Silbermann. “We began discussing this well-deserved promotion last October and but for the pandemic, this would have happened sooner. He has earned this promotion with sustained levels of excellence in all aspects of the job and makes our organization stronger. I am thrilled for him and us.”
Gibbs will continue to represent J. Cole, with whom he has worked since 2009 alongside manager Ibrahim Hamad, and the entire Dreamville Records roster, as well as Ari Lennox, COZZ, Earthgang, JID , Lute and Omen. His roster also includes Since The 80’s, The Fiends and Blackwax and Gibbs says a key to his success has been working closely with managers like Future The Prince from OVO and Tyler Henry, who manages PARTYNEXTDOOR.
“They have all been great supporters in my journey of the 14 years I have been at ICM,” Gibbs tells Billboard.
Prinz added that Gibbs “has built a tremendous business the right way and has been a great teammate and mentor for younger agents as well as a key producer in our department for many years,” noting that “this promotion formalizes a leadership role that Robert has already undertaken within the concerts department for a long time now.”
“A big agenda piece for us is focusing on building a strong culture at the agency and in our department,” says Gibbs, noting that includes the recent hiring of Simon Clarkson to run the company’s new electronic music department. “We are redefining our music department and just getting stronger and better.”
Gibbs, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is also on the board of A Place Called Home, a non-profit in South Central Los Angeles offering children and teens access to the arts, educational programs, counseling and mentorship. (He and ICM Partners are longstanding financial backers of A Place Called Home.) Additionally, Gibbs is on the board of the ICM Foundation, which manages and gives financial and volunteer support to numerous charities and organizations in the cities in which ICM operates. And he on the executive board of Diversify/ICM, which is dedicated to helping identify, hire, train, and mentor minority candidates at ICM and champion educational programs to foster a greater understanding between diverse people and cultures.
Gibbs said the promotion came on a sad day Monday (Aug. 17) with the passing of Quinn Coleman, son of former BET CEO Debra Lee and the senior director of A&R at Capitol Records. “While it’s an exciting and historic time for myself and the agency, it’s also a time of heartbreak on hearing the passing of an extraordinary young man Quinn Coleman who was an incredible DJ, A&R, curator of our business,” Gibbs tells Billboard, adding that he and the rest of ICM are “sending our condolences to his family during this difficult time.”