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Sony shakes up its Entertainment division

As Sony seeks "new ways to innovate" its movie and music business, it creates the role of president for the unit and promotes an insider.


Sony has shaken up its executive leadership inside the Entertainment division.

Sony has appointed Nicole Seligman president of its Entertainment division. Sony created the role for Seligman, who will report to Sony Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton. Seligman will also step down as Sony's general counsel and executive vice president to take on her new role.

The Sony Entertainment division has been a source of debate within the company. Last year, activist investor and major Sony shareholder Daniel Loeb argued that Sony should spin off the Entertainment division, which includes its movie and music business, saying that it was a drag on its electronics operation. Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai decided instead to hold on to the Entertainment division, but has acknowledged that work needs to be done to improve its performance.

So far, Sony has been somewhat lax in providing details on its plans for the entertainment business. At a corporate strategy meeting earlier this month, Hirai acknowledged that work needed to be done, but would only say that his company would look at "new ways to innovate" in the division. He also hoped to cut Sony Pictures cost by $300 million.

Although Seligman will be leaving her role as general counsel, Sony says that she will remain on in an advisory role on legal matters.

Still, Sony's troubles aren't legal, they're everywhere else. The company's television business has struggled for years, its brand is not as strong as it was in the 1990s, and its Entertainment division needs help. For its part, Sony has acknowledged that it's facing major competition in the marketplace, and is especially concerned about its mobile devices unit. The company is, however, performing somewhat well with the PlayStation 4, which could help boost its earnings in the coming years.

Seligman's appointment is contingent upon Sony's board voting her in on June 19. The vote should be a formality.

CNET has contacted Sony for comment on the announcement. We will update this story when we have more information.

Sony shares are down 9 cents, or .5 percent, to $16.12 in pre-market trading on Friday.

(Via Reuters)