Sony Entertainment CEO steps down to focus on Snapchat

Michael Lynton spent 13 years at Sony. Image: Sony Entertainment

Sony confirmed that Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton will leave the company on Feb. 2 and take on the role of chairman of the board at Snap, the company that runs Snapchat. 

Lynton will stick around for another six months to help with the transition and to assist Sony Corp. President and CEO Kazuo Hirai finding someone new to run Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“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 in a statement. "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.”

Hirai thanked Lynton in a statement, particularly for the “broad structural and management changes” that he hoped would return Sony’s pictures business back to “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.”

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Lynton’s departure from Sony Entertainment comes after last year saw Sony’s TV chief Steve Mosko leave. According to Variety, Mosko pushed Lynton for a bigger role in the group but ultimately he was unable to come to terms on a renewal for his contract.