Just a few months after the Sony hacking scandal and the controversial release of The Interview, Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of SPE and Chairman of the Motion Picture Group, has stepped down from her post to launch a major new production venture at the studio. Pascal will transition to the new venture in May 2015. Ms. Pascal who joined Columbia Pictures in 1988, said that after several decades as a senior executive at Sony Pictures, she had decided to launch her own company that would focus on movies, television and theater. Details of Ms. Pascal's film venture will be announced shortly. Here's what Amy Pascal had to say in a statement.
"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. I have always wanted to be a producer. Michael (Lynton) and I have been talking about this transition for quite some time and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-held dream and for providing unparalleled support. As the slate for the next 2 years has come together, it felt like the right time to transition into this new role. I am so grateful to my team, some of whom I have worked with for the last 20 years and others who have joined more recently. I am leaving the studio in great hands. I am so proud of what we have all done together and I look forward to a whole lot more."
As part of a four-year agreement, SPE will finance Ms. Pascal's venture and retain all distribution rights worldwide to films financed. The venture will be located at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City. Here's what Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton had to say in a statement.
"Amy's creativity, drive, and bold choices helped define SPE as a studio where talented individuals could take chances and push boundaries in order to deliver outstanding entertainment. The studio's legacy is due in large part to Amy's passion for storytelling and love of this industry. I am delighted that Amy will be continuing her association with SPE through this new venture, which capitalizes on her extraordinary talents. In recent months, SPE faced some unprecedented challenges, and I am grateful for Amy's resilience and grace during this period. Amy has been a great partner to me in heading the studio and I am looking forward to a continued close working relationship with her in her new role on the lot."
Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corporation, had this to say in his statement.
"Amy has had a truly extraordinary career. In her years at Sony Pictures, Amy worked with some of the best talent in the film industry to create many of our studio's most beloved and successful films. I want to thank her for her years of dedication and I am pleased that she will continue to work closely with SPE in her new venture."
Since Pascal has led the studio, SPE has amassed over $46 billion in global theatrical box office, 315 academy award nominations, 212 golden globe nominations and 115 number one openings. Ms. Pascal got her first job by answering an ad in the Hollywood Reporter. She worked as a secretary answering phones for the legendary BBC producer Tony Garnett. Ms. Pascal is the first woman since Mary Pickford to serve as a Governor of the Executive Branch at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.