EXCLUSIVE: With Jim Gianopulos getting closer to a deal to run Paramount and the town all abuzz with who might come into the vice-chair role below him, we are hearing a bit more about the Sony Pictures executive job. A new candidate is emerging in Tony Vinciquerra, a highly capable executive and the senior adviser for technology, media and telecom sectors at TPG Capital.
He, of course, also is the former chairman of Fox Networks Group, with a history rich in television (both broadcast and cable) not only at News Corp.’s Fox but before that at Hearst and CBS.
Meetings are still going on over the next two to three weeks, and we hear that outgoing Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is helping Sony Corp. president and CEO Kazuo Hirai in pulling in legitimate candidates. In fact, the two were seen in the commissary together discussing possibilities earlier in the week. Sony also has hired an executive search firm to assist them. It is estimated that any hire for that post is still several weeks off.
What the job entails will be somewhat different from the one Lynton had. As envisioned by the Japanese, the new post will be designated to oversee film and TV but not the music division. Lynton’s job was also as EVP, Officer in Charge of Music Businesses of Sony Corp., but that job was created for him about five years ago.
The idea for a role that doesn’t encompass all divisions has raised some eyebrows, however, when you have a pro like Rob Stringer overseeing the music division (pretty much autonomously — Doug Morris is still on call there) with a bevy of very strong executives in the ranks, it’s understood.
It is known that Hirai has been taking meetings with a number of other executives on a list of possibles. Those include Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of the Fox Networks Group; former Disney COO Thomas Staggs (is the job big enough for him?); and former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar (seen as a long shot). Tribune Media CEO Peter Ligouri, who officially leaves his company this month, is an adviser to the Sony Corp. board but is not in line for the top job.
One name you will not see in the list of contenders is Steve Mosko, the former head of Sony Television. Why? Because, the Japanese fully supported Lynton in his decision to oust Mosko. “He is not in the running,” said one executive.
It’s also curious that, unlike in previous times in Hollywood, no agents have emerged as possible contenders this time around, even though there is a long history in the entertainment industry of agents making that transition and leading studios to successful runs.
Sony is being methodic in getting the right person in the job, and in the meantime, it is business as usual in the film and TV units.