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Sony Pictures Closes Tech Unit, Cookson Departs

Los Angeles – Sony continued to make major changes among key leadership personnel this week.

This time, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) closed its technologies unit and laid off an undisclosed number of employees, including its president Chris Cookson, and Mitch Singer, chief digital strategy officer.

 “As part of the Company’s previously announced efforts to evolve its operations, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is absorbing the functions of Sony Pictures Technologies into various core businesses,” Charles Sipkins, chief communications officer at Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement. “Regrettably, Chris Cookson will leave the company as a result. In related moves, SPE has streamlined technology groups across its businesses to accelerate creative and technological innovation. The entire company wishes to express its deep gratitude to Chris, his team, and the other groups involved in these changes.”

Cookson was responsible for all of SPE’s technology standards used in the distribution and development of Sony Pictures’ entertainment products. He was also a studio liaison with other Sony divisions, handling content protection, cloud-based production and distribution, 4K, 3D, and other technology issues.

Singer had been a key contributor to the development of UltraViolet, the cloud-based content ownership service backed by most of the major studios. He also served as president of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the industry consortium the developed UltraViolet.

The moves follow similar sharke ups at Sony in recent weeks, including the bump upstairs of former Sony Electronics U.S. president Phil Molyneux, who became a non-executive chairman, (he was replaced by Mike Fasulo) and the announcement that long-time Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president David Bishop would be stepping down in March.