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Amy Pascal Is Out as Head of Sony Pictures

Studio executive's personal emails were distributed by Sony's hackers, causing embarrassment.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Embattled Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal, who built a decades-long career at the film studio, is leaving, months after hackers made public embarrassing emails.

Sony announced that Pascal will leave in May to launch a new production venture in partnership with the studio. It offered few details of her new role, other than that it would focus on movies, television and theater.

“I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” Pascal said in a statement.

Pascal’s departure is thus far the highest-profile fallout from the November cyber assault on Sony Pictures. U.S. authorities blamed the attack on North Korea as a reprisal for Sony’s “The Interview,” a comedy skewering the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the attack.

Hackers made public thousands of private emails and confidential business documents — including some of Pascal’s private exchanges that became fodder for celebrity gossip sites and the Hollywood trades.

In one series of emails about a film to be adapted from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, combative power producer Scott Rudin invoked Angelina Jolie, whom he described as a “spoiled brat” and a “rampaging spoiled ego.”

Another exchange between Pascal and Rudin, for which both have apologized, involved racially insensitive banter about President Obama.

Pascal has earned a reputation for her close relationships with Hollywood talent. Over her tenure at the helm of the studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment has brought in $46 billion in global theater box office receipts and 315 Academy Award nominations. The lengthy list of hit films under her stewardship include “Casino Royale,” the Spider-Man film series, “Men in Black,” “A League of Their Own,” “Pineapple Express,” “American Hustle” and “The Social Network.”

“The studio’s legacy is due in large part to Amy’s passion for storytelling and love of this industry,” Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton said in a statement. “I am delighted that Amy will be continuing her association with SPE through this new venture, which capitalizes on her extraordinary talents.”

But some industry executives wonder whether Pascal would have been able to resume her work as chairman of the motion pictures group with the same effectiveness and credibility.

A spokesperson for Sony Pictures declined comment, and Pascal could not be reached.

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