The news broke last week in the Financial Times and New York Times that Lynton is now chairman/CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. This comes as video game exec Kazuo Hirai is poised to take over the Japanese parent company on April 1, as current Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer becomes chairman of the board. Stringer had continued running Sony Corporation of America after he took over the reins of the parent company in 2005.
Moving the Sony executive deck chairs will also promote Sony general counsel and exec vp Nicole Seligman to an administrative role as president of Sony Corporation of America. Lynton, who like Seligman is a trusted Stringer ally, will be expanding his portfolio to include the music and music publishing groups. Hirai will continue to oversee video games and consumer electronics from Tokyo. The FT suggested that Hirai will be more invested in shoring up Sony's core businesses than entertainment:
Sony’s music businesses and film and TV studio have been among its few profitable divisions in recent years, but some in the US still fear a spin-off or sale that could leave the entertainment companies vulnerable to a takeover.
Another question is whether this promotion means that Lynton will give his Sony Pictures Entertainment title to his co-chair, Amy Pascal, the highest ranking woman in the movie business. Well, the answer is no. Sony makes it clear that Lynton will continue to run Sony's entertainment operations: motion pictures (Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics, and TriStar Pictures), worldwide television production and distribution, home entertainment, and digital productions (Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation)--from Culver City and New York. Pascal will remain co-chair of SPE and chair of the motion picture group.