Sony Animation Production President to Step Down (Exclusive)

Michelle Raimo Kouyate - P 2015
<p>Michelle Raimo Kouyate - P 2015</p>   |   AP Images/Invision
Michelle Raimo Kouyate is stepping down from her position and transitioning to a first-look producing deal with the studio.

DreamWorks Animation isn’t the only animation house that is going through changes.

Michelle Raimo Kouyate, the production president of Sony Pictures Animation, is stepping down from her position and transitioning to a first-look producing deal with the studio.

The deal encompasses both animation and live action parts of Sony’s slate. One of her first roles will be coming on board as a producer on SPA’s Medusa. Medusa is an animated comedy being developed by My Little Pony director Lauren Faust.

A new head for the animation division was not named but a search is in progress. Raimo Kouyate will oversee the transition.

Under Raimo Kouyate, SPA launched Hotel Transylvania, with a second movie being released later this year, and put out hits The Smurfs 2 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Working on Medusa was a catalyst for her decision to step down, she said.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while and when I was working on Medusa, it started to bring up the feelings of really being back in the game,” Raimo Kouyate told The Hollywood Reporter. “And there comes a time on an animated project when you just need to get a producer on it, when it hits a stage where it’s story boarding and moving to the next level. So I thought if there was ever a time to do it, now was it.”

She added: "Sony Pictures Animation is an incredible place with talented artists and creative people. I am totally confident that great things will continue to come out of it and I'm so excited that I will be a part of it."

SPA’s loss is Medusa’s gain, according to Faust: "One of the main reasons why I was attracted to Medusa was the opportunity to work with Michelle. She's the one who brought this project to me and her passion for it, her love of story telling and her regard for artists is what brought me to Sony. I couldn't be more thrilled to have her formally come on board as the producer on Medusa as I could not think of a better person for this role."

Kouyate joined SPA in 2010 and previously held development and production roles at DreamWorks Animation (she was an executive producer on Puss In Boots), Miramax Films and Paramount Pictures. 

Among her live action credits is acting as an exec producer on the Oscar-winning hit Silver Linings Playbook.