Sony Chair Amy Pascal Steps Down in Wake of Hack Attack
The Hollywood Reporter
February 5, 2015
by Tatiana Siegel
Amid the fallout of the ever-widening Sony hacking crisis, Amy Pascal will step down from her post as co-chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The move has been widely expected ever since the studio became engulfed in one of the worst cyber attacks in corporate history and certainly the most embarrassing hit ever taken by a major Hollywood institution in the digital age.
As often is the case with ousted studio heads, Pascal will launch a major new production venture at the studio. Pascal, whose deal was up in March, will transition to the new venture in May.
“I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” she said in a statement.
“I have always wanted to be a producer. (Sony Entertainment CEO) Michael (Lynton) and I have been talking about this transition for quite some time, and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-held dream and for providing unparalleled support. As the slate for the next two years has come together, it felt like the right time to transition into this new role. I am so grateful to my team, some of whom I have worked with for the last 20 years and others who have joined more recently.
I am leaving the studio in great hands. I am so proud of what we have all done together and I look forward to a whole lot more.”
As part of a four-year agreement, SPE will finance Pascal’s venture and retain all distribution rights worldwide to the films. She will be based on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City.
“Amy’s creativity, drive, and bold choices helped define SPE as a studio where talented individuals could take chances and push boundaries in order to deliver outstanding entertainment,” Lynton said.
“The studio’s legacy is due in large part to Amy’s passion for storytelling and love of this industry. I am delighted that Amy will be continuing her association with SPE through this new venture, which capitalizes on her extraordinary talents. In recent months, SPE faced some unprecedented challenges, and I am grateful for Amy’s resilience and grace during this period.
Amy has been a great partner to me in heading the studio and I am looking forward to a continued close working relationship with her in her new role on the lot.
Added Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Corp.: “Amy has had a truly extraordinary career. In her years at Sony Pictures, Amy worked with some of the best talent in the film industry to create many of our studio’s most beloved and successful films. I want to thank her for her years of dedication and I am pleased that she will continue to work closely with SPE in her new venture.”
In the two-plus months since Sony first noticed that its servers had been breached by an unknown group dubbing itself Guardians of Peace, the studio watched powerlessly as huge swaths of its most sensitive documents and correspondence were leaked on the Internet. Among the most damaging were the personal information and social security numbers of some 47,000 past and present staffers as well as film budgets, profitability figures and thousands of e-mails sent to and from Pascal.
Pascal, who also held the title of SPE Motion Picture Group, is exiting the studio that she started at in 1988, rising to the top post that she shared with Lynton. Together, the pair oversaw all of SPE’s lines of business, including film production, acquisition and distribution; TV production, acquisition and distribution; TV networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies.