Landau to Depart Sony Pictures After 17-Year Career at Studio

Plans New Games And Animation Venture

Mar 13, 2008, 01:00 ET from Sony Pictures Imageworks

    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
 all media.
     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

SOURCE Sony Pictures Imageworks