While the news about Michael Lynton was already known, some Sony watchers are surprised to see the confirmation that Nicole Seligman will run the main U.S. office in NYC instead of CFO Rob Wiesenthal. He was the guy who used to accompany CEO Howard Stringer to investment banker Herb Allen’s annual mogul-fest in Sun Valley. He will now become President, International for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, reporting to the unit’s CEO Martin Bandier. Although Seligman’s kept herself behind the scenes, the former lawyer for Lt. Col. Oliver North and Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial is a formidable presence at Sony. She’s also extremely well plugged-in. (She was a bridesmaid for her Harvard classmate Carolyn Kennedy when Kennedy married Edwin Schlossberg in 1986.) One question is whether she’s too well connected: Her husband is Joel Klein — the former Justice Department antitrust chief and New York City school chancellor who joined News Corp at the beginning of 2011 and has had Rupert Murdoch’s ear on legal matters including the UK hacking and bribery scandals. Here’s today’s release:
March 29, 2012 – New York, NY – Michael Lynton has been named CEO of Sony Corporation of America (SCA) and Nicole Seligman will become SCA President, it was announced today by Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation and Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President.
Mr. Lynton will be overseeing Sony’s entertainment businesses, including Sony Music Entertainment (SME), Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). Ms. Seligman will have responsibility for Sony’s U.S. headquarters operations.
Mr. Lynton will remain Chairman and CEO of SPE, and Amy Pascal will remain as Co-Chairman; they will continue running the studio together. Ms. Seligman will remain as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Sony Corporation.
The promotions announced today, which will become effective June 27th, are part of a series of management changes being implemented in conjunction with the transition of leadership at Sony. On April 1st, Mr. Hirai will become CEO and President of Sony Corporation. Mr. Stringer continues as Chairman until June 27th, when he is expected to become Chairman of the Sony Board of Directors. Mr. Stringer has also been Chairman and CEO of SCA since 1998. As of June 27th, the position of SCA Chairman of the Board will be assumed by Mr. Hirai.
“Michael Lynton is an incredibly accomplished executive who has distinguished himself in at least three different fields – entertainment, technology and publishing,” said Mr. Stringer. “Michael and Amy helped put Sony Pictures on the path of stability and profits and they continue to be one of the most successful partnerships in entertainment. Michael is absolutely the right choice to succeed me as CEO of SCA. He understands the vital importance of fulfilling Sony’s unique promise of linking content and devices, and has been instrumental in our efforts to make it happen.”
“Having worked so closely with Nicole Seligman for more than a decade, I know her to be a superb leader with great intelligence and integrity,” said Mr. Stringer. “There is no one better suited to serve as SCA President at this important time in the company’s history.”
“I have known both Michael and Nicole for many years and they will do an excellent job at Sony Corporation of America,” said Mr. Hirai. “They will be key members of my management team as we build on the progress made under the leadership of Sir Howard and fulfill Sony’s destiny as the company best able to make and deliver the kind of entertainment, products and services people want.”
As of June 27th, reporting to Mr. Lynton in his capacity as SCA CEO will be SME CEO Doug Morris, Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Martin Bandier and Ms. Pascal.
As head of Sony’s U.S. headquarters operations, Ms. Seligman will have oversight of such SCA functions as legal, finance, human resources, investor relations and communications, and will work closely with those corporate functions of the entertainment businesses as well.
Mr. Lynton and Ms. Seligman will report to Mr. Hirai.
“I am grateful to Sir Howard and Kaz for this opportunity to work with Nicole, Doug, Marty and Amy in leading Sony’s entertainment businesses,” said Mr. Lynton. “While the studio and the music companies are doing well, this remains an era of great change and challenge, and so I know we will work more closely than ever with Sony’s electronics and network businesses to bring the best possible entertainment experiences to people everywhere.”
“Working with Sir Howard throughout this past decade has been a highlight of my career, and I am thrilled to have the chance to work closely with Michael in leading Sony Corporation of America,” said Ms. Seligman. “Michael, Amy, Doug and Marty are the best entertainment executives in the business, and together with them, we all look forward to joining Kaz in putting Sony on the path to ever greater success.”
No management changes are planned at SPE; Mr. Lynton will continue to be based in California at the studio’s world headquarters in Culver City, and will travel to New York. Ms. Seligman will continue to work in New York and Tokyo.
Sony Corporation of America, based in New York, NY, is the U.S. subsidiary of Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its motion picture, television, computer entertainment, music and online businesses make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment and technology companies in the world.