Kenneth Lemberger, co-prexy of Sony Pictures Entertainment, is negotiating his exit from the company after about 20 years.
Named to the post in October 2000, Lemberger had worked closely with chief operating officer and co-prexy Mel Harris in managing SPE’s worldwide operations.
Before being named SPE’s co-prexy, Lemberger had served as president of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, where he oversaw worldwide business, financial and administrative activities of Sony’s feature film companies.
“Ken knows as much about the motion picture business as anyone I know,” said John Calley, chairman and CEO of SPE, with whom Lemberger had worked closely on the development of motion picture strategies and structure.
“He’s a great strategist and executive, and we want to keep him in the mix,” Calley added. “We are doing what we can to make sure we don’t lose access to his expertise.”
Lemberger, whose departure is described by insiders as amicable, is expected to consult for Col’s movie biz in an agreement that will be finalized in the nest two to three weeks. The scope of his consultancy is under discussion, but it is expected to focus on Sony’s international production companies as well as Sony Pictures Classics.
“I don’t know of many people who were as lucky as me,” said Lemberger, in an interview with Daily Variety. “Columbia and all its ‘successor companies’ have given me a fantastic opportunity to be extremely well-rounded. I look forward to using that both at Sony and at other companies, too.”
A lawyer by training, Lemberger did indeed reinvent himself with something akin to clockwork every four to five years at Col. He started as a transactional lawyer for the studio’s TV and film operations and later, in homevideo and pay TV from 1979-83, when he became general counsel. As such, he oversaw the acquisition of Embassy Communications and Spelling/Goldberg Entertainment.
Before being named president of CTMPG in January 1997, Lemberger was exec VP of SPE and directed the Corporate Development Group, both domestically and internationally, in developing and executing all aspects of long-range strategic planning.
From 1992-94, Lemberger was vice chairman of TriStar Pictures, where he was responsible for day-to-day operations and the overall business, financial and legal activities of the studio.