Sony Names Nicole Seligman President of Entertainment Unit

Nicole Seligman

UPDATED: The senior exec's appointment to the newly created role is part of a broader leadership shake-up, as the Japanese conglomerate seeks to return to profitability.

Sony Corporation announced Friday that it has named Nicole Seligman to the newly created role of president of its U.S.-based entertainment business.

In her new role, Seligman will report to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.

The former Sony general counsel also was named senior legal counsel of the Sony Group. On all Sony Corporation business, she will continue to report to Sony CEO Kaz Hirai. Seligman also remains president of Sony Corporation of America, a position she has held since June 2012.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Michael as we harness the exceptional talent of our people and encourage the development of new synergy points to catalyze innovation throughout the company,” said Seligman in a statement. “I appreciate the confidence that Kaz and Michael have shown in me, and I'm eager to build upon a very productive, collaborative relationship in pursuit of our shared objectives for Sony Entertainment.”

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Seligman is married to former New York City school chancellor Joel Klein, who is now the CEO of Amplify, the education arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. It wasn't immediately clear if Sony would name a successor for her current role.

“I sought out Nicole for this role and am thrilled to work with her to explore new ways to leverage Sony Entertainment's business and creative assets into new opportunities for profitability and growth," said Lynton in the statement. “We have so much talent to draw upon, and I'm very happy that we now also have Nicole's broad experience and proven judgment focused on moving Sony Entertainment forward.”

The creation of the new president position follows some leadership changes at Sony's Tokyo headquarters, as the conglomerate struggles to return to profitability. Kenichiro Yoshida was named chief strategic and financial officer and the company sold high-value real estate holdings in Tokyo and New York in 2013 to boost its balance sheet. 

At a strategy meeting at the company's Tokyo headquarters earlier this month, Hirai said that Sony Pictures would cut costs by $300 million by the end of the fiscal year that runs through March 2016. In November, the company had said it was targeting $250 million in savings at the film unit over that time frame, noting a reduced film slate, personnel cuts and other savings measures.