Amy Pascal Stepping Down As Sony Pictures Co-Chair

One of the film industry’s top female executives has resigned in the wake of Sony Pictures attack.

While Sony lost a good deal of money from an attack (by North Korea?) ahead of the planned release of “The Interview” that saw movies uploaded online before their release; Pascal took a more personal beating as her emails, including a number that denigrated president Obama, were leaked to the public.

Amy Pascal Stepping Down As Sony Pictures Co-Chair

Specifically, the emails that saw her issuing numerous apologies included her questioning the president’s movie watching habits.

Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal: May departure

The company announced on Thursday that she would be stepping down sometime in May having worked at Sony continuously since 1996. She had worked at Sony as early as 1988 before becoming president of Sony’s Columbia pictures unit in 1996. Sony did not name her successor when the announcement was made but her decision to leave certainly pushes more power to Sony Pictures chief executive, Michael Lynton.

Ms. Pascal had been in contract renewal talks well before the attack but presumably she has decided that accepting a four-year production deal with Sony was the best course of action for her following the attack. A Sony statement described her new deal as  “a major new production venture” though no details beyond that were given.

“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,” Pascal said in a statement.

“The Interview” and beyond

It was Pascal who “green-lighted” “The Interview” and, one would think, the reason that she was targeted in the attack.

“When you have a scandal of this magnitude there needs to be some kind of executive change,” says Matthew Belloni, executive editor for The Hollywood Reporter. “Especially when you’re dealing with a Japanese corporation where the leaders routinely take the fall for bad things that happen to the company.”

Belloni went on to explain, “This is a very typical arrangement for studio heads that exit.”

He was, however, quick to note that she had lost a good deal of power saying, “She’s no longer a buyer. She’s not a studio head. There’s only a few people (in Hollywood) who can say yes. She’s now not one of those people.”

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