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LYNTON TO STEP DOWN AS SONY ENTERTAINMENT CHIEF TO FOCUS ON SNAPCHAT (UPDATE)

Sony Entertainment head Michael Lynton has announced he will step down. Lynton said he will focus on the development of Snapchat, in which he is an investor. Tokyo-based Sony Corp. chief Kazuo Hirai will take a more active role (and an L.A. office) in overseeing Sony's film, TV and music divisions.

According to an announcement, Lynton will stay on as Co-CEO for six months, working closely with Hirai during the transition. Hirai will take a second office in Culver City and awaits your restaurant recommendations.

Lynton, who began at Sony in 2004, will become Chairman of the Board at Snap, Inc., Snapchat's owner. With an IPO pending, the New York Times and others report, expect that company to yield megabucks.

“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.”

“I want to thank Michael for his strong leadership and dedication to Sony throughout his long and illustrious career with the company,” said Hirai.  “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.”

The Wrap has floated five possible successors for Lynton, including Jeffrey Katzenberg (who recently sold his DreamWorks Animation to NBC Universal), former Viacom head Tom Freston, ex-Warner Bros. Pictures Prez Jeff Robinov, former Sony TV head Steve Mosko and ex-Fox Filmed Entertainment topper Jim Gianopulos. Read all about it here

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