Amy Pascal, the longtime co-chairman at Sony Pictures, will step down from the job she's held for roughly 15 years to launch her own production company, the studio announced in a release on Thursday.
The decision comes two months after Sony Pictures suffered a massive and unprecedented hack that plunged the studio into a month of embarrassing and damaging stories, especially for Pascal. The ordeal reached a climax of sorts when Sony pulled The Interview from movie theaters after the group that claimed responsibility for the hack issued a threat against theaters showing the movie. The Interview was eventually released in a limited number of theaters, and received a far more lucrative digital release on many VOD platforms — but it could still take years before the film could see any substantial profits for Sony.
The hacking scandal was a true nightmare for Pascal, who faced a level of intense scrutiny — including from the White House — that most studio chiefs never face. In a statement to the press regarding her decision to leave the position, however, Pascal noted that she had been discussing it with her fellow co-chair Michael Lynton "for quite some time," and that, after finalizing Sony's slate for the next two years, "it felt like the right time to transition into this new role." The news of Pascal's departure from her long-held position at Sony came a day after a Vanity Fair story was published, detailing how "devastating" the hack was for her. However, the piece concluded with the following statement: "Pascal does not act as if she’s going anyplace anytime soon."
In the Sony press release, Pascal said, “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." Her new company, which will focus on film, television, and theater, will be based at Sony's Culver City, California, campus.
Pascal will transition to her new company beginning in May.
Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton announced that Tom Rothman, the head of TriStar and the former longtime co-leader of 20th Century Fox, will replace Amy Pascal as the new Chairman of SPE's Motion Picture Group.
In a statement, Lynton said, "Tom has had an extraordinary career and we are thrilled to have him run the Motion Picture Group. Tom's creativity, strong talent relationships and track record of enduring films and commercial success are unparalleled in this industry and exactly what we are looking for to grow our film business. Having run Fox Filmed Entertainment during a time of great successes and growth for that studio, and then producing at TriStar here at SPE, Tom knows this business inside and out like few others do."
Lynton will continue as chairman and CEO of SPE with Rothman, who will report to Lynton, overseeing the Motion Picture Group specifically. In a release, Sony said "Rothman will work with Amy Pascal to ensure a smooth and orderly transition into his new role."
"I am grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Motion Picture Group,” said Rothman in a statement. "I have had the pleasure of working closely with the exceptionally talented teams at SPE for the past year, and I am excited to build on those relationships in this new role. I want to thank Michael and Amy for their support ever since I came to the lot with TriStar. I am thrilled at this rare opportunity to lead the Motion Picture Group at such an exciting and transformative time for the studio."