Sony Pictures Entertainment finally has gotten around to naming a new corporate spokesman, the post that has been empty since Charles Sipkins left. Michael Lynton has named Robert Lawson, the Rubenstein PR exec who has been an important adviser to him since the studio was hacked just before Thanksgiving. Actually, the job is a bit different than the one Sipkins had, as he reports to Lynton and Nicole Seligman, and the studios’ PR heads in film (Jean Guerin) and TV (Paula Askanas) don’t report to Lawson.
Lawson certainly got a baptism by fire, as Lynton and Amy Pascal found themselves dodging crises by the day as their private e-mails were dispersed widely to media. Pascal transitioned to a producing deal, and Tom Rothman is running the studio for Lynton now. While Deadline refrained from running those e-mails because they were illegally obtained by North Korean hackers to give validity to a terror threat, the studio was OK with us running the e-mail that Lynton just sent internally on Lawson’s hire:
I am pleased to announce that Robert Lawson has been named Executive Vice President – Chief Communications Officer for Sony Pictures Entertainment, reporting directly to me and Nicole Seligman, President of Sony Entertainment.
Bob comes to SPE after serving as an Executive Vice President at the strategic communications firm Rubenstein and having worked closely with SPE over the last several months as a consultant. His corporate communications experience in the entertainment space and in other sectors has been enormously helpful to us and we look forward to expanding our work with him across the breadth of the SPE business.
As Chief Communications Officer Bob will be responsible for the development and implementation of SPE’s overall communications strategies and lead the company’s media relations, executive communications, crisis/issues management and thought-leadership activities. He will work closely with SPE’s communications teams in the Motion Picture and Television Groups, as well as the company’s global communications team in Tokyo.
Bob joins SPE after running a division at Rubenstein focused on corporate communications, crisis/issues management, thought-leadership and large-scale outreach campaigns. Over the last year he has worked with Sony Corporation of America on internal and external communications strategies and more recently with Sony Pictures Entertainment, first on the 2014 film Captain Phillips, and later on broader corporate communications after the 2014 cyber-attack. Prior to his work with SPE, Bob worked closely with Paramount Pictures while at Rubenstein, developing and implementing numerous internal and external communications strategies related to corporate positioning, restructuring and issues management as well as on various film-specific projects such as Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, Daren Aronofsky’s Noah and Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.
Some of Bob’s other clients at Rubenstein have included NewsCorp, the NFL, Tribeca Enterprises/Tribeca Film Festival, the NYC Marathon and Tishman Speyer. Prior to Rubenstein, Bob was a deputy press secretary for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. At the Mayor’s office his portfolio of agencies included the NYPD, FDNY, Criminal Justice, Parks, Office of Emergency Management, Law Department, Cultural Affairs and the Department of Education.
Please join me in welcoming Bob who will join our team on June 1.