Sony Pictures Entertainment has let go three president-level executives — international channels head Andy Kaplan, chief TV marketing officer Sheraton Kalouria and home entertainment topper Man Jit Singh — as part of a broader effort to streamline its top management ranks.
Keith Le Goy, Sony Pictures TV’s president of distribution, will take on oversight of home entertainment while Sony Pictures TV chairman Mike Hopkins will oversee the international channels group, as well as the Crackle streaming service and franchise management of Sony’s enduring game shows “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.”
Le Goy will now have a dual report to Hopkins and Sony Motion Picture Group chairman Tom Rothman.
The goal of the revamp steered by Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman-CEO Tony Vinciquerra is to remove management layers and make the studio more nimble overall. Vinciquerra has been studying the studio’s organizational structure and looking for ways to adjust what he views as a top-heavy management hierarchy. The departure of Clint Culpepper last month from Sony’s Screen Gems film production unit was also part of this streamlining effort.
“Our decision to rethink the way we operate these units was driven by our goals to streamline SPE’s business operations, making them nimbler and better aligned with a rapidly-evolving industry,” Vinciquerra said in a company-wide memo distributed Tuesday afternoon.
The executive shuffle has been in the works for some time. But it comes to pass a few days after Sony Corp. in Tokyo surprised the industry, including those at Sony Pictures Entertainment, with a top management change of its own. Kazuo Hirai will step down as CEO as of April 1, handing the reins to Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida.
Hirai will remain chairman and plans to remain engaged with the operations of Sony Pictures and Sony Music. But the transition has nonetheless raised questions about whether Sony is warming to the sale of its entertainment operations at a time when the broader media biz is abuzz with M&A speculation. Sony Pictures’ production infrastructure and vast library of films and TV programs would surely draw a host of suitors. Insiders, however, say there have been no such signals coming from Tokyo since the Yoshida announcement.
With Kaplan’s departure as president of worldwide TV networks, the regional heads of the channels group will report directly to Hopkins, the former Hulu and Fox Networks Group executive who joined the studio in October. Vinciquerra took up his post in June.
Management of Sony TV’s marketing operations will now shift directly to the relevant business units with Kalouria’s exit as president and CMO for the TV group. Domestic and international TV distribution-related marketing efforts will report to Le Goy. Franchise, consumer products marketing, publicity and talent relations report to Sony Pictures TV Studios president Jeff Frost. Event planning and marketing advertiser sales report to Amy Carney, president of advertiser sales and research.
Kaplan had been with Sony and its affiliated companies for nearly 30 years. Kalouria joined the studio in 2010 after stints with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and NBC. Singh came into the fold in 2009, starting out as head of its channel group in India. He was promoted to head of home entertainment in 2014.
Vinciquerra expressed gratitude to the three departing executives in his memo and acknowledged that the changes would be an “adjustment” for studio staffers.
“They are important in our efforts to strengthen SPE overall and make it more agile and competitive in today’s fast-moving environment,” he wrote.