12:10pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Sony TV Shake-Up: Andy Kaplan Among Trio of Top Executive Exits
More than six months after being tapped to lead Sony Pictures Entertainment as its CEO, Tony Vinciquerra is making a major structural leadership change — and streaming the TV studio's executive roster.
Leaving the company are worldwide networks president Andy Kaplan, home entertainment topper Man Jit Singh and president and CMO Sheraton Kalouria. Instead, 18-year company veteran Keith Le Goy, president of distribution for Sony Pictures Television, will expand his role to include home entertainment. With the departure of marketing chief Kalouria, his direct reports will now each answer to the specific business group they serve. U.S. distribution marketing, international production and distribution marketing and creative services will now report to Le Goy’s group. Franchise and consumer products marketing, publicity and talent relationships will report to Jeff Frost, who was appointed president of Sony Pictures Television Studios in July. Event planning and marketing advertiser sales will report to president of ad sales and research Amy Carney's group.
The moves were announced Tuesday in a memo sent to staff by Vinciquerra, who has been busy setting a new staff after he joined the company. His recent appointments include former Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, who was hired in October to fill the chairman role vacated by Steve Mosko at the studio.
"The changes below represent a significant restructuring of some traditional business models and processes that have been in place at the studio for years," Vinciquerra said Tuesday in a memo to staff. (Read it in full, below.) "Our decision to rethink the way we operate these units was driven by our goals to streamline SPE’s business operations, making them nimbler and better aligned with a rapidly evolving industry.
Le Goy will continue to report to Hopkins for SPT distribution, and to Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony's motion picture group, for its home entertainment business. In the role, Le Goy replaces Singh, who had served as home entertainment head since 2014. In the role, Singh helped to build networks in India, where he formerly served as CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India.
Kaplan, meanwhile, has served as worldwide networks president since 2002. During that time, he helped grow the networks business to 178 countries, 101 channels and 189 feeds, reaching 2 billion people. Kaplan was considered a likely candidate to take over running the independent studio after the exits of SPT chiefs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht but was passed over for the role, which went to Frost and drama execs Jason Clodfelter and Chris Parnell.
Kalouria was promoted to president and CMO in 2016, overseeing consumer product licensing for SPT brands including The Blacklist, Outlander, Better Call Saul and Preacher. He has been with the studio since 2010 and previously reported directly to Mosko.
"I realize these changes are significant and will be an adjustment for many of you, but they are important in our efforts to strengthen SPE overall and make it more agile and competitive in today’s fast-moving environment," said Vinciquerra. "We will be meeting with each of the impacted business units in the days ahead to discuss the restructure and answer questions you might have."
The changes come as Sony Television looks to streamline its executive ranks as the independent studio faces a challenging path forward in an era where networks and streaming giants alike are more focused on ownership. Netflix, for example, recently inked a $100 million-plus deal with prolific producer Shonda Rhimes in a bid to own more of its programming. To that end, Sony TV — while a reliable outlet for content on cable — has only scored four pilot orders at the broadcast networks this season. That's off from nine last year, when the studio was run by Van Amburg and Erlicht, who left last year to run originals at Apple.
For his part, Le Goy managed all distribution for SPE's television division, directing the company's domestic and international licensing operations worldwide. He oversees distribution of SPE's film, television and other content to broadcast, satellite, cable, digital distribution in the U.S. and around the world. Le Goy has been with the company as SPT exec vp distribution since 2006 and was promoted to president of international distribution two years later. He joined Sony from Disney, where he was vp sales for Europe.
Vinciquerra's memo to staff is below.
I wanted to make you all aware of some important structural and leadership changes taking place within our television and home entertainment businesses. As you will see, the changes below represent a significant restructuring of some traditional business models and processes that have been in place at the studio for years. Our decision to rethink the way we operate these units was driven by our goals to streamline SPE’s business operations, making them nimbler and better aligned with a rapidly-evolving industry.
I am pleased to announce that Keith Le Goy, our President of Distribution for Sony Pictures Television, will be expanding his oversight to also include Home Entertainment. Keith has been with SPE for over 18 years and has expertly managed distribution of Sony Pictures' film, television and other content to all media platforms — from broadcast, satellite, and cable, to digital and electronic delivery, including video-on-demand, subscription-video-on-demand, electronic sell-through, and mobile. The expansion of Keith’s oversight is not only recognition of his leadership strength and success in this space, but also of the changing landscape of the home entertainment sector, which continues to shift from physical to digital, and increasingly to markets around the world. Keith’s global experience is unmatched in our industry and he is the perfect fit to reorient our home entertainment business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace. Keith will now have a dual report. He will continue to report to Mike Hopkins, our new SPT Chairman, for SPT distribution, and to Tom Rothman, Chairman of our Motion Picture Group, on MPG home entertainment business.
With this move, Man Jit Singh will be stepping down as President of SPE Home Entertainment. I want to thank Man Jit for guiding our home entertainment business through years of unprecedented change, and in helping to build our robust networks business in India, where he once served as CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India. His efforts in India have contributed immeasurably to SPE’s current strength in that fast-growing market.
We are also realigning the reporting structure in our Worldwide Networks business. Moving forward, our networks business will now report directly to Mike Hopkins.
With this restructure, Andy Kaplan will be stepping down as President of Worldwide Networks. I want to thank Andy for his years of service and hard work at SPE. Under his leadership, our networks business has grown tremendously, currently operating in 178 countries, with 101 channels and 189 feeds — reaching nearly 2 billion people. His strategic management of the networks group and its key assets — including Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Crackle, GSN, AXN, ANIMAX, Sony Channel, and our entire portfolio in India — has kept SPT Networks a vital part of SPE’s overall business.
Finally, we will be reorganizing the reporting lines in SPT marketing. Moving forward, each of our dedicated SPT marketing teams will report directly to the business units they support. Specifically, as follows:
- U.S. Distribution Marketing, International Production and Distribution Marketing, and Creative Services will now report to Keith Le Goy’s group;
- Franchise and Consumer Products Marketing, and Publicity and Talent Relations will now report to Jeff Frost’s group;
- Event Planning and Marketing Advertiser Sales will now report into Amy Carney’s group.
With this restructuring, Sheraton Kalouria will be stepping down as President and Chief Marketing Officer for SPT. Over the past eight years, Sheraton has built SPT marketing into a world-class, global operation. He deserves enormous credit for showcasing the strength and vitality of SPT and its content in markets around the world, and I want to thank him for his leadership and commitment to the studio.
I realize these changes are significant and will be an adjustment for many of you, but they are important in our efforts to strengthen SPE overall and make it more agile and competitive in today’s fast-moving environment. We will be meeting with each of the impacted business units in the days ahead to discuss the restructure and answer questions you might have.
Please join me in thanking Man Jit, Andy and Sheraton for their outstanding contributions to SPE and in wishing Keith continued success.