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Sony Entertainment CEO confirms his departure

By | Published on Monday 16 January 2017

Sony Corp

The boss of Sony Entertainment, Michael Lynton, has confirmed that he is departing the company to spend more time snapchatting. By which we mean to fully focus on his role as Chair of Snap Inc, a company in which he was an early investor, not just sitting at home snapchatting away via the social app. Though maybe that too.

Although Lynton was always more focused on Sony’s movie and TV studios, as CEO of Sony Entertainment he also oversaw the conglom’s global music businesses: Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The exiting CEO will stay on the payroll for another six months as he works with overall Sony Corp chief Kazuo Hirai to find a replacement boss for the firm’s US-based entertainment division.

That process is also expected to result in a little restructuring within Sony’s American business, which could well result in the music firms being split off from movies and TV. Indeed, as previously reported, when rumour of Lynton’s imminent departure gained momentum last month, there was speculation that the Sony movie and TV studios might be slotted into the company’s much more successful Interactive Entertainment division, aka the home of the PlayStation.

Whether or not that now happens, any restructuring of Sony’s US headquartered entertainment businesses could result in the Sony Music record company and Sony/ATV music publishing firm being more closely aligned. That being something that is much easier to achieve now than before following Sony’s purchase of the 50% of Sony/ATV it didn’t own from the Michael Jackson estate last year.

While it is common for companies that own both labels and publishing assets to have the two sides of their music rights businesses operate autonomously, most have a little more integration than Sony. One possible restructure, therefore, would be for Sony to mirror Universal Music in having publishing ultimately report into the record company’s top management; though that might be easier to achieve whenever 75 year old Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier decides to retire.

In the meantime, Lynton has confirmed his impending departure in a memo, saying: “Today I will be announcing my resignation from Sony to focus on my position as Chairman of the board of Snap Inc. This was not an easy decision for me, and one that I arrived at after long and careful consideration. As some of you are already aware, I have been involved with Snapchat since its early days. Given Snapchat’s growth – and my growing role and responsibilities in it – I recently determined that the time was right to make a change”.

He added: “As you are all aware, the landscape of our business continues to shift as never before, and the innovation and commitment shown by all of you at Sony Corp, Pictures and Music to adapt and change with it has been inspiring. I am confident that the broad changes we have made and the terrific new management team we assembled over the last few years will strengthen the company overall, and position it for greater growth in the future”.



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