US And Canada Report

Amy Pascal to exit as Sony co-chairman

Amy Pascal to exit as Sony co-chairman

Amy Pascal is preparing for her exit interview. The Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman, who remained at the center of a Hollywood hurricane known as The Interview, an embattled comedy about the death of Kim Jong Un she green-lit – which tipped off one of the largest corporate hacking scandals in history – is leaving her position in May. Pascal is not going far: The executive will launch “a major new production venture” at the studio, according to a statement from Sony.635564167367109686-AP-SONY-HACK-PASCAL-69406320

“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,” said Pascal in a statement. “I have always wanted to be a producer.” The move is hardly surprising. At the height of the Sony hacking scandal, Pascal’s private e-mails were hacked, producing a number of embarrassing stories for the company, including a racially charged e-mail exchange with producer Scott Rudin in which she joked about President Obama’s movie preferences. Both swiftly apologized.

At the time, Sony stood by Pascal as it weathered daily assaults by a group who called themselves the “Guardians of Peace.” The company’s financials, employee health records, full-length unreleased films and eyebrow-raising e-mail exchanges about A-list stars (from Angelina Jolie to Kevin Hart) poured into the ether and were swiftly batted about in industry and gossip blogs alike. Pascal kept a brave face, attending The Interview’s Los Angeles premiere and trying to keep company morale up alongside CEO Michael Lynton in town hall meetings on the company’s Culver City, Calif., lot.

But to many, the writing was on the wall. “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.”