Sophie Watts has stepped down as president of STX. In a press release, STX said that Watts was leaving to “focus on new business opportunities.”
Watts’ departure has been rumored for months. However, Watts previously denied to Variety that she was leaving.
In a statement, Watts thanked CEO Bob Simonds, as well as the heads of Hony and TPG Growth, two investors in the studio.
“STX has been a life-changing experience for me, not only because of the company’s phenomenal growth and unique approach to global creativity, but because of the hundreds of spectacular people who make it such an extraordinary place to work,” Watts said in a statement.
Watts did not respond to a voicemail asking her for additional comment. In an email message to staff, Watts wrote “After nurturing the company since its inception, I feel lucky to have achieved more than I could have dreamed of here, and I’ve made the hard decision that it’s time for me to leave to explore new opportunities. Thanks to your tireless efforts, we have transformed this company from a two-person start-up into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.”
Watts’ exit comes as STX has struggled to gain a foothold in the industry. The studio launched with grand ambitions to compete directly against the major studios. Yet, its output has been spotty. The studio scored with “Bad Moms” and its sequel “Bad Moms Christmas,” but has also fielded a number of duds such as “Free State of Jones,” “The Space Between Us,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” and “Hardcore Henry.” The company is reportedly considering an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, early in 2018.
Before joining STX, Watts worked in the music industry and was a producer and financier of the 2011 documentary “Bully.”
All divisions previously reporting to Watts will now report directly to Simonds or to Chief Operating Officer Thomas B. McGrath, the company said. STX said Watts continues to be a “significant” shareholder and will remain a strategic advisor.
TheWrap first reported that Watts was leaving the company.