Sony Shake-Up: Christine Birch Out as Domestic Marketing Chief

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Christine Birch

Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein announced her exit in a note to staff on Wednesday.

Christine Birch is out as domestic marketing chief at Sony. 

Her exit was announced Wednesday in a note to studio staff from worldwide marketing and distribution president Josh Greenstein that included a short statement from Birch.

"Christine approached us about leaving in January 2018, following the record-setting performance of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," Greenstein wrote. "Under her tenure, Sony’s domestic marketing department produced some of its best results in years, including Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Magnificent Seven, Peter Rabbit and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."

In her note to staffers inside the memo, Birch called the "transformation" of Columbia Pictures' marketing department "one of the most rewarding chapters of my career" and wrote, "Now, I’m ready for a new challenge.”

Behind the scenes, however, Birch's exit follows an HR investigation into alleged pot smoking on the Sony lot and her treatment of some staffers. The inquiry was sparked by multiple complaints lodged against the top executive, according to sources.

Insiders say the HR investigation was inconclusive. The studio and Birch nevertheless decided to part ways. They added that the tension between her and some of her staff wasn't sustainable.

Birch had previously spent a dozen years at Sony in various senior marketing positions before taking on posts at DreamWorks, Film District and Focus. She returned to Sony in spring 2016 in the newly created role of executive vp domestic creative marketing strategy. In the fall of that year, she replaced Dwight Caines as president of domestic marketing.

Her departure is the second major shake-up within a studio marketing division following the ouster of Josh Goldstine as Universal's president of marketing last month after a weeks-long investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Read Greenstein's note below.

Dear colleagues, 

Following an extraordinarily impressive run in Columbia’s Domestic Marketing department, Christine Birch is stepping down from her post as President of Domestic Marketing.

Christine approached us about leaving in January 2018, following the record-setting performance of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Under her tenure, Sony’s domestic marketing department produced some of its best results in years, including Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Magnificent Seven, Peter Rabbit and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Below is a short note from Christine regarding her departure:

“The transformation of the Columbia Pictures marketing department has been one of the most rewarding chapters of my career. I’m very proud of the team and I’m incredibly grateful to Tom Rothman and Josh Greenstein for supporting my vision. Now, I’m ready for a new challenge.”

Christine’s direct reports will report to Andre Caraco, Co-President of Domestic Marketing, on an interim basis.

Please join me in thanking Christine for her hard work and dedication to Sony Pictures, and in wishing her all the best in the next chapter of her career.

Josh