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Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures executive, steps down in the wake of 2014 hacking

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  1. Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures and head of the company's motion picture group, is stepping down.
  2. Her leaked emails proved one of the central stories of the November 2014 Sony hack.
  3. She had already been rumored to be on her way out at the company before the hack, but the hack almost certainly hastened her exit.
  4. Pascal is the only female head of a major movie studio.

What's next for Pascal

Pascal made her announcement this morning. She will leave Sony to launch a new production venture.

According to Deadline, there had been speculation the Pascal might transition before the hacking of Sony in November 2014, but "clearly, this all has been hastened by the devastating cyber attack on the studio by North Korea over Sony's The Interview."

How the hack affected Amy Pascal

During the hacking, the entirety of Pascal's email was leaked and revealed to contain sections where she bet that the president of the United States preferred movies written by or starring black people. She later told Deadline that she didn't want to be defined by those emails.

Pascal was caught up in all sorts of email drama during the hackings. She wrote far too many emails using Caps Lock. She was in charge of what eventually became the explosion of the Steve Jobs movie. Her emails were often unprofessional, and riddled with talk of her colleagues that was not by any means complimentary.

The move to production will give Pascal some time out of the limelight, time in which the hack can cease to be the sole thing defining her.

Pascal said in a statement:

"I have always wanted to be a producer. [Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton] and I have been talking about this transition for quite some time, and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-held dream and for providing unparalleled support. As the slate for the next two years has come together, it felt like the right time to transition into this new role. I am so grateful to my team, some of whom I have worked with for the last 20 years and others who have joined more recently. I am leaving the studio in great hands. I am so proud of what we have all done together and I look forward to a whole lot more."

What the departure means for gender representation

Pascal's departure is understandable, both from her perspective and from that of Sony. But it also means there are no women in charge of any of the major movie studios. It only further underlines the simple fact that women are vastly underrepresented in Hollywood on every level, and now they are even less represented at the level of studio heads.