Peter Wilkes, senior VP of executive communications and the last vestige of the Peter Guber regime at Sony, has stepped down after 11 years.
According to a statement issued by Wilkes and Sony, the exec is interested in exploring other career opportunities. In the immediate future, the corporate spokesman said he is heading to Hawaii for some much-needed R&R.
“After more than a decade at Sony, I would like to move on to new and different career challenges,” Wilkes said. “I leave with great affection and respect for my colleagues throughout the Sony family.”
Wilkes and SPE prexy-CEO John Calley wanted to make clear that the parting was “amicable.”
“Peter was an extremely valuable corporate asset,” Calley said. “He was an astute corporate strategist and an outstanding writer and he will be missed.”
Wilkes was the last remnant of the machine that former chairman Guber built at Sony nearly a decade ago.
He handled Sony’s corporate public relations through some of the studio’s more problematic moments, including the Heidi Fleiss scandal in 1993 and the $3.2 billion quarterly write-off for the company a year later. He also was a key player in aiding the studio transition from Guber to former prexy Alan Levine to Calley.
“Peter played a key role in restoring SPE’s public image in the media and financial communities,” said Yuki Nozoe, SPE exec VP. “He helped forge stronger communications links throughout the Sony Group.”
When Calley was named prexy by Sony Corp. chief Nobuyuki Idei, the former UA chief made it clear that he planned to reshape the studio.
Barbara Dixon, who joined Sony as senior veep of publicity for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group in April, has assumed some of Wilkes’ duties.
Wilkes joined SPE’s predecessor company in N.Y. in April 1988 as director of corporate communications. Following Sony’s acquisition of the company, he relocated to SPE’s West Coast headquarters and was upped to VP, exec communications in 1990. Two years later, Sony bumped him to senior VP of exec communications.