Cookson to top Sony’s tech unit

Exec to head Sony Pictures Technologies

Sony Pictures has tapped Chris Cookson, Warner Bros.’ top tech exec, to take on a newly created role as president of Sony Pictures Technologies.

Cookson, a 15-year WB vet who has been chief technology officer since 1999, will focus on ways in which Sony Pictures Entertainment can work with other divisions of Sony Corp. as part of CEO Howard Stringer’s “Sony United” strategy.

“My challenge is to try and find opportunities for better coordination and cooperation between Sony’s electronics companies and the studio,” Cookson said.

He will oversee Sony chief technology officer Mitch Singer, formerly the studio’s top tech exec, who will continue to handle a variety of tech issues including antipiracy efforts. Cookson will report to SPE chief exec-chairman Michael Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal.

Before Warners, he was veep and general manager of operations and engineering for CBS in New York, where he first worked with Stringer. Cookson, who holds more than 30 U.S. patents, also worked for a decade at ABC, where he won an Emmy for his work as director of the ABC and Intl. Olympics Broadcast Centers.

“Technological changes are reshaping the business model of the entire entertainment industry, and Sony Pictures aims to be at the forefront of this revolution,” Lynton said. “Chris Cookson’s long career in the technological end of the entertainment business gives him the kind of wisdom and experience we need at this crucial moment in our studio’s history.”

A Warner Bros. spokesman said the studio will make an announcement soon about its plans to replace Cookson. It’s likely that senior VP of emerging technologies Chuck Dages and exec VP of antipiracy, distribution and technical operations Darcy Antonellis will take on more responsibilities.

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