Sony Pictures Entertainment has named Tom Rothman as new chairman of its motion picture group, a major move after a massive cyberattack devastated the entertainment giant.
Rothman will succeed Amy Pascal, who said earlier this month she was stepping down in the wake of the hack.
Pascal resigned following a scandal caused by the publication of embarrassing emails that were leaked in the hack attack on the Hollywood studio blamed on North Korea.
Emails between Pascal, actress Angelina Jolie and producer Scott Rudin were just some of the thousands of documents leaked onto the internet.
In the email exchange about Jolie and Rudin’s Sony film Cleopatra, Rudin removed Jolie from the chain and told Pascal the actress was “seriously out of her mind”.
In one email Jolie wrote to the pair about whether Cleopatra should be bald for the film – as she apparently was in real life.
“The one thought I would ask you both is about her ‘bald’. I think that made sense in earlier drafts but if we are saying every time she’s in bed she has no hair or a shaved head it changes the sensuality. I wonder if we should keep it out and discuss as an idea with the director. But I worry we could scare off a director,” Jolie writes.
“Kill me now. Immediately,” Rudin wrote to Pascal afterwards.
The emails betwen Pascal and Rudin also included jokes about US President Barack Obama liking films featuring black actors.
When Pascal asked Rudin what she should ask Mr Obama at a fundraising breakfast in 2013, Rudin replied: “Would he like to finance some movies.”
Pascal then responded: “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked Django?” – referring to the film Django Unchained.
To which Rudin replied: “12 Years”, in reference to 12 Years A Slave, before they started naming other films featuring black stars.
Pascal was forced to apologise in December for the emails and will stay with Sony to launch a “major new production venture”.
Her replacement, Rothman, joined Sony in 2013 and currently heads its TriStar unit. He previously ran Fox Filmed Entertainment from 2000-2012.
“Tom’s creativity, strong talent relationships and track record of enduring films and commercial success are unparalleled in this industry and exactly what we are looking for to grow our film business,” Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and chief executive Michael Lynton said in a statement.
Rothman said he was “grateful and humbled” by the appointment.
Sony also announced that Lynton’s contract had been extended. As CEO of Sony Entertainment, Lynton will continue to oversee Sony’s global entertainment businesses.
At the helm of Fox Filmed, Rothman’s track record included the two highest-grossing films in cinematic history, Titanic and Avatar, Sony said.
– with AAP