A big media executive is stepping down at Sony to help Snapchat on its quest to redefine the camera — and television.
HE WILL STAY ON AT SONY FOR SIX MONTHS
He will stay on at Sony for six months, however, as the studio seeks a replacement, sharing the title of co-CEO of Sony Entertainment with Sony Corporation President and CEO Kazuo Hirai, who will have a second office in the Culver City, California, to oversee the company’s entertainment companies.
“I have been involved with Evan [Spiegel] and Snapchat since its early days, and given its growth since then, decided the time was right to transition and focus on my role as Chairman of the Board of Snap Inc.,” Lynton said in a statement.
Snap is preparing for an IPO at a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion early this year.
Lynton shepherded Sony Pictures through the worst hack in corporate history in 2014 — a scandal that ended up costing motion pictures co-chairperson Amy Pascal her job. Tom Rothman replaced her, but the transition hasn’t been smooth, with Sony executives complaining out his micro-managing and a toxic environment. Andrew Gumpert, Sony’s president of worldwide business affairs and operations, left for the COO spot at Paramount.
Now the studio has another major position to fill. Variety is already speculating on who may be up for the job, including DreamWorks Animation founder and former CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tribune Media president and CEO Peter Liguori, and Jim Gianopulos, who was recently pushed out as chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
Sony ranked fifth in market share last year thanks to some box-office busts including “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” “The Brothers Grimsby” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” as well as underperforming tentpoles “Ghostbusters” and “Passengers.”
Sony’s entertainment assets have been the subject of acquisition rumor, but Hirai expressed a vote of confidence in the division, saying, “As we look ahead, we see our entertainment businesses as essential parts of Sony, and I look forward to working with Michael towards a smooth transition.”