The exec ultimately in charge of Sony Music and Sony/ATV, Michael Lynton, is leaving Sony Corp to join the business formerly known as Snapchat full-time.
Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment – in charge of its Pictures and Music businesses – will step down effective February 2, 2017 to become the Chairman of the Board at Snap Inc.
Lynton is effectively the boss of both Sony/ATV chief Martin Bandier as well as Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. Rob Stringer was set to report into Lynton when he steps up to Sony Music CEO in April.
Lynton will stay on as Co-CEO of Sony Entertainment for the next six months, overseeing the Pictures and Music businesses, and as CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Corporation of America.
He will work with overall Sony Corporation President and CEO Kazuo Hirai to find a replacement – in particular for the leadership of Sony Pictures Entertainment. It appears possible that responsibility for Sony’s music companies could fall under Hirai’s jurisdiction long-term.
“I leave Sony with great pride in all we have accomplished together.”
During the transition, Lynton will work closely with one-time PlayStation boss Hirai, who will now take on the additional title of Chairman and Co-CEO of Sony Entertainment.
As a result, Hirai will run a second office at SPE’s offices in Culver City, California, to oversee the management of the entertainment companies: namely Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, as well as Sony Corporation of America.
“It has been an extraordinary 13 years and an honor to work at Sony with some of the most talented and creative people in the entertainment space,” said Lynton. “I have been involved with Evan 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.
“I leave Sony with great pride in all we have accomplished together, and confidence that the broad changes we have made and new management team we have assembled over the last few years will strengthen the company overall. I want to thank Sony Corp. – Kaz Hirai and Howard Stringer in particular – for their leadership and support over the years, and our excellent teams at Pictures and Music for their unwavering dedication to producing and distributing outstanding entertainment.”
Lynton began his Sony career in 2004 as Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and in 2012 was named CEO of Sony Entertainment, expanding his remit to include Sony Pictures and also the music companies, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
“The entertainment industry continues to undergo some of the most transformative changes it has ever seen, and Michael’s vast experience and expertise in the entertainment and media space has been invaluable in charting a path forward through this new landscape.”
Kaz Hirai, Sony
In April 2016, he was additionally appointed as Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation in charge of the Pictures and Music businesses.
Said Hirai: “I want to thank Michael for his strong leadership and dedication to Sony throughout his long and illustrious career with the company. The entertainment industry continues to undergo some of the most transformative changes it has ever seen, and Michael’s vast experience and expertise in the entertainment and media space has been invaluable in charting a path forward through this new landscape.
“Particularly the broad structural and management changes Michael has recently implemented will help our music business sustain its strong momentum, and the pictures business to set the path for restoring profitability and future growth, though we recognize current challenges in motion pictures business and its turnaround will take some time. 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.”
An internal memo to Sony colleagues sent by Lynton has been obtained by MBW – you can read it in full below.
Today I will be announcing my resignation from Sony to focus on my position as Chairman of the Board of Snap Inc. This was not an easy decision for me, and one that I arrived at after long and careful consideration. Sony Corp will be issuing an internal note from Kaz to all Sony global employees as well as a press release describing the details and timing of my transition, which I have included below.
As some of you are already aware, I have been involved with Snapchat since its early days. Given Snapchat’s growth – and my growing role and responsibilities in it – I recently determined that the time was right to make a change.
I leave Sony with great pride in all we have accomplished together – from our greatest victories to overcoming our biggest challenges. Together we:
· Produced terrific films such as American Hustle, Captain Phillips, The Social Network, Spider-man, Skyfall and Spectre; and hit TV shows like Breaking Bad, The Blacklist, The Goldbergs, The Crown and Kevin Can Wait;
· Grew our worldwide networks business to 178 countries, including India with our ownership of the IPL cricket rights the Ten Sports Network;
· Completed the Lot’s most significant capital improvement projects in decades including the Jack and Harry Cohn buildings, Calley Park and the beautiful new 8-story Akio Morita building, which brought Sony Music and Sony/ATV Music Publishing employees onto the Lot for the first time;
· Completed the $750 million acquisition of the Michael Jackson Estate’s stake in Sony/ATV, making us 100% owners;
· And triumphed over the most devastating and disruptive cyber-attack in corporate history, keeping studio operations running and not missing a single day of production.
As you are all aware, the landscape of our business continues to shift as never before, and the innovation and commitment shown by all of you at Sony Corp, Pictures and Music to adapt and change with it has been inspiring. I am confident that the broad changes we have made and the terrific new management team we assembled over the last few years will strengthen the company overall, and position it for greater growth in the future.
It has been an extraordinary 13 years and an honor to work at Sony with some of the most talented and creative people in the entertainment space. I want to thank Sony Corp – Kaz and Howard Stringer in particular – for their leadership and support over the years, and our excellent teams at Pictures and Music for their unwavering dedication to producing and distributing outstanding entertainment.
I will be staying with Sony for the next 6 months to ensure a smooth transition, and I look forward to working with Kaz and many of you in that process.
Thank you all for these wonderful years together. I know that Sony’s best days lie ahead!Music Business Worldwide