CULVER CITY, Calif., March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- After serving as
president of the digital division at Sony Pictures Entertainment for nearly
ten years, Yair Landau is planning to leave the studio in April, it was
announced today by Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and
Co-Chairman Amy Pascal.
Landau, who has been with Sony Pictures for 17 years, is planning a new
games and animation venture to develop and produce content for use across
Lynton and Pascal also announced that Landau will continue working with
Sony Pictures as an Executive Producer of Cloudy With A Chance Of
Meatballs, an animated feature scheduled for release in 2009.
"When Yair came to us a few months ago and said he was ready to move
on, we wanted him to stay, but it became clear that he wanted to do on the
outside what he had been doing here on the inside for so long and so well
-- building a new business in the 'new media' environment," said Lynton.
"He helped bring us into the digital age with the Sony Pictures Digital
division, which has served as our very own new media incubator," said
Lynton. "His strategic vision, technological savvy and business acumen
helped us keep pace with the rapid changes affecting our industry."
"I have been proud to work with a colleague as creative and innovative
as Yair," said Pascal. "From his role in helping to bring the
Spider-Man(TM) franchise to our studio to his leadership of our digital
division, Yair has left an indelible mark on our company and this
"From the moment I began my relationship with Sony Pictures
Entertainment ten years ago, Yair has been a truly valued friend and
colleague," said Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman and CEO, Sony Corporation.
"His influence on Sony's decision-making in the digital dawn has been
profound and enduring. We will all benefit from his instincts and insights
for many years to come."
Under the direction of Landau and the leadership of its president, Tim
Sarnoff, Sony Pictures Imageworks developed into a leading,
state-of-the-art digital animation and visual effects company creating
computer-generated imaging (CGI) for motion pictures. In 2003, Imageworks'
first animated short, The Chubb Chubbs! won numerous awards including an
Academy Award(R) for Best Animated Short Film. In 2005, the visual effects
and animation team at Imageworks was honored with an Academy Award(R) for
Achievement in Visual Effects for Spider-Man 2.
"Yair and Tim really put us on the map in the visual effects business,"
said Lynton. "Imageworks is the best in the business, thanks in large part
to their vision and the creativity of their entire team."
Landau established Sony Pictures Animation in 2002. Along with Penney
Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins, they assembled a talented team of
animation filmmakers to produce all-CG animated feature films. Sony
Pictures Animation's first two features, Open Season, released in 2006, and
2007's Surf's Up, were critically acclaimed and have together accumulated
close to $350 million in worldwide box office revenue. Surf's Up received
an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in
During his time at Sony Pictures, Landau also oversaw the growth of
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) into a worldwide leader in massive
multiplayer online games, such as Everquest, Untold Legends(TM), and
PlanetSide(R) and Star Wars Galaxies(TM).
"Having had the chance to be an entrepreneur inside a company like Sony
Pictures, growing new lines of business that can now stand on their own,
this is the right time for me to move on and explore exciting new
opportunities in the industry," said Landau. "Since joining the studio
shortly after its acquisition by Sony, I have had the good fortune to work
at the intersection of entertainment and technology. I am especially
grateful to Howard Stringer, John Calley, Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton and
the many talented colleagues with whom I've shared these past 17 years."
In addition to the work of Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation in
the studio's digital division, Sony Pictures continues to be at the
forefront of the technology boom in the industry, playing an important role
in the promotion of Blu-ray high definition discs and the creation and
distribution of content in mobile, portable and online markets. The studio
is also a champion of the industry's move to digital cinema in theaters
Landau said a further announcement regarding his new venture will come
in the near future. He is also accepting offers to join the boards of
several businesses and is planning to make investments in media,
entertainment and technology companies, applying his experience as a
digital media pioneer in this growing market.
Landau came to Sony Pictures in 1991 from the investment banking world.
At Sony Pictures, he has served as Executive Vice President of Corporate
Development and Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures. He was named President of
Sony Pictures Digital in 1999.
He helped pioneer some of the studio's earliest ventures on the
Internet and internationally, including Screenblast, an early
user-generated video website; Movielink, a multi-studio video download
service; and, in conjunction with Sony Pictures Television International, a
television channel in India.
Landau is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago, and
holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Lynton and Pascal said a replacement for Landau in the studio's digital
division will be named soon.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation
of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's
global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution;
television production and distribution; digital content creation and
distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition
and distribution, operation of studio facilities; development of new
entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of
filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be
found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com.
SOURCE Sony Pictures Imageworks