Sony Closes Technologies Unit, Lays Off Its President


As part of its ongoing efforts to cut back the size of its workforce, Sony Pictures Entertainment closed down Sony Pictures Technologies today, laying off Chris Cookson, who has served as president of the unit since 2008. New cuts were also made in the home entertainment group and at Imageworks, the studio's VFX house.

The latest round of layoffs brings the number of jobs that the studio has eliminated since SPE heads Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal began cost-cutting measures last fall to around 50.

"As part of the company's previously announced efforts to evolve its operations, Sony Pictures Entertainment is absorbing the functions of Sony Pictures Technologies into various core businesses. Regrettably, Chris Cookson will leave the company as a result. In related moves, SPE has streamlined technology groups across its businesses to accelerate creative and technological innovation. The entire company wishes to express its deep gratitude to Chris, his team, and the other groups involved in these changes," Sony spokesman Charles Sipkins said in a statement.

Cookson's team led the studio's efforts to implement initiatives like UltraViolet and digital distribution and had been overseeing the transition to 4K, 3D and digital-file-based workflows throughout the company.

On Jan. 21, the studio also held a staff meeting, announcing that it intends to move more of the Imageworks workforce to its Vancouver, B.C., facility.

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