Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is stepping down

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai will take a 'more hands-on' role during the six-month transition, as Lynton focuses on Snapchat.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Michael Lynton is moving on from Sony, to focus on being the chairman of Snap, Inc., the parent company of Snapchat. Lynton has been at the top of Sony Pictures for 13 years, a span which included the massive 2014 hacking incident that saw unreleased films, emails and other studio information released on the internet. At the time, his co-chair at Sony Pictures was Amy Pascal, she left the company in 2015.

He's also been the CEO of Sony America since 2012, and Sony says that his departure will extend over the next six months as it works to find a replacement. In the meantime, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai will take over the title of Chairman and co-CEO of Sony Entertainment, and maintain a second office at Sony Pictures' headquarters in California.

As far as where he's going, Lynton has long been involved with Snapchat and his role there is increasing ahead of its anticipated IPO. When Sony was hacked, emails leaked from his inbox revealed dealings with a company, Vergence Labs, that hinted at the development of Snap's recently-released Spectacles.

In a statement, the exec said "I have been involved with Evan and Snapchat since its early days, and given its growth since then, decided the time was right to transition and focus on my role as Chairman of the Board of Snap Inc. I leave Sony with great pride in all we have accomplished together, and confidence that the broad changes we have made and new management team we have assembled over the last few years will strengthen the company overall. I want to thank Sony Corp. - Kaz Hirai and Howard Stringer in particular - for their leadership and support over the years, and our excellent teams at Pictures and Music for their unwavering dedication to producing and distributing outstanding entertainment."