Michael Lynton Is CEO of Sony Corp. of America, Nicole Seligman Named President

It’s official: Michael Lynton rises to CEO of Sony Corp. as Howard Stringer role diminishes

Michael Lynton has been named CEO of Sony Corporation of America, making official a report that first emerged earlier this month.

Nicole Seligman becomes president, the company announced. Seligman was previously executive vice president and general counsel at Sony.

“Michael Lynton is an incredibly accomplished executive who has distinguished himself in at least three different fields – entertainment, technology and publishing,” said Sony Corp. chairman Howard Stringer in a news release.

Lynton's promotion is part of a larger shift in the leadership structure of the sprawling entertainment and technology company, as Stringer prepares to hand over his CEO duties to top lieutenant Kazuo Hirai next month.

Also read: Michael Lynton to Become Sony Corp. of America CEO

Lynton would now oversee all of the company's domestic entertainment operations, giving him control over the Sony's music and music publishing divisions in addition to its film and television shops. Seligman will have responsibility for Sony’s U.S. headquarters operations.

Lynton will remain Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, continuing to run it with co-chair Amy Pascal. And Seligman will remain as executive VP and general counsel of Sony Corp.

The promotions become effective June 27th, several months after Hirai takes over day to day management of Sony. Hirai takes the rains from Stringer on Sunday. 

Sony is struggling to regain its financial footing and former dominance in the consumer electronics field. Last year it was also hit by several natural disasters in Asia — the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and later flooding in Thailand.

Also read: Sony Names Kazuo Hirai New CEO

Last quarter, Sony reported a $2.1 billion loss for its third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31 on a 17.4 percent drop in sales to $23.4 billion. Sony also projected a deeper loss for the fiscal year, increasing its estimates to a $2.9 billion shortfall — more than double the $1.18 billion forecast in November.

One of the few bright lights has been Sony's film division, which under Lynton has fielded a string of hits like "The Smurfs," and has a slate of tentpole films such as "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men in Black 3" due out next summer.

Here is the full official news 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.