Sony shake-up puts Lynton atop all entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton will be promoted to chief executive of Sony Corp. of America in a management shuffle that gives him oversight of the entertainment and electronics giant's music businesses, people familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly have confirmed.
The change, expected to be announced shortly, comes amid changes at the top of Sony Corp.'s headquarters in Tokyo, where Kaz Hirai will succeed Howard Stringer as chief executive on April 1. Stringer also had the title that Lynton will assume as head of Sony Corp. of America.
Lynton's ascension signals that he will be Hirai's top lieutenant in the U.S. overseeing all of the company's entertainment businesses, except for video games. That unit, as well as Sony's U.S. electronics operations, will continue to report directly to Tokyo. Hirai started his career in music and spent the past 17 years in top roles at Sony's video game unit.
Lynton will continue to be based at Sony Pictures' Culver City lot, even though Sony Corp. of America is headquartered in New York. He has run the movie and television studio since 2004, alongside co-chairwoman Amy Pascal, after previously working elsewhere in the film, Internet and publishing businesses. He has no experience in music.
Under the new structure, Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, which sells recorded music to consumers, and Martin Bandier, CEO of the Sony/ATV music publishing division, will report to Lynton.
Nicole Seligman, who is currently executive vice president and general counsel of Sony Corp. of America, will be named president of SCA and run its business operations under Lynton, the people close to the matter confirmed.
Rob Wiesenthal, SCA's chief financial officer, may transition to a new role at Sony/ATV rather than staying in his current position and working with Lynton.
The corporate changes were first reported by the New York Post and Financial Times.
-- Ben Fritz and Alex Pham
Photo: Michael Lynton and wife Jamie. Credit: Stefanie Keenan