Sony Entertainment president Nicole Seligman to step down

Longtime executive Nicole Seligman is stepping down as president of Sony Entertainment and Sony Corp. of America, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The veteran attorney is leaving for unspecified reasons and will stay with Sony through the end of next month, according to an internal memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Seligman oversaw corporate functions, including communications, legal matters and human resources.

“While for us, there is no ‘good time’ for her to leave … we do respect her decision, and wanted to share it with you now,” Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said in the note to staff.

It was not clear what triggered Seligman’s resignation, but she is not expected to be replaced, said a person close to the company who was not authorized to discuss the matter.

It’s the latest high-profile departure for the company, which has been trying to turn around its movie business after an uneven year at the box-office. Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chair Amy Pascal was ousted last year in the wake of the 2014 cyberattack on the Culver City movie and TV studio that exposed embarrassing emails from executives.

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In April, Michael De Luca left for a production deal at Universal Pictures after Sony chose former Fox Filmed Entertainment chief Tom Rothman to replace Pascal.

Seligman is credited with helping to lead the company through the devastating cyberattack that shut down Sony Pictures’ computer systems, wiped out data and exposed personal information of thousands of current and former employees.

Hirai and Lynton also credited Seligman with recently helping to orchestrate the sale of Sony’s 550 Madison Ave. building in New York. Seligman wanted to finish the company’s move from the space before leaving.

In May 2014, Seligman was named president of Sony Entertainment, the unit that includes Sony Pictures, record label Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Her elevation came during a time of belt-tightening for Sony Pictures.

Seligman has been president of Sony Corp. of America, a unit of Tokyo-based Sony Corp., since June 2012 and has overseen the operations of the company's U.S. headquarters.

As Sony Entertainment president, she reported to Lynton. And in her role of president of Sony Corp. of America, she reported to Hirai.

She first joined the company in 2001 as executive vice president and general counsel under Howard Stringer, who was the head of Sony Corp.'s U.S. business at the time.

Before Seligman’s arrival at Sony, she represented President Clinton during his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. She also represented Oliver North during the Iran-Contra scandal and was a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder.


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3:20 p.m.: This post has been updated with additional information throughout. 

It was originally posted Feb. 18 at 6:26 p.m.