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She started as General Counsel for Sony in 2001. Now, Sony's Nicole Seligman will hold three titles: President of Sony Corporation of America (the umbrella company for all U.S.-based business), President of Sony Entertainment (includes the company's music, movie, and publishing operations) and senior legal counsel (an advisory role) -- a considerable list of responsibilities that will be eased a bit by ceding GC duties to someone else. She'll also remain on the company's executive committee, reports Deadline.
If all of those titles seem a bit confusing, well, welcome to corporate America. But in simpler terms, she's gone from GC to the boardroom, lawyer to executive -- exactly what we were discussing last week.
The Harvard and Harvard Law alum had quite the pre-Sony career: as a new attorney with Williams & Connoly, she helped defend Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Iran Contra hearings. Later, after making partner, she was on President Bill Clinton's legal team during his impeachment proceedings, arguing for dismissal of the charges before the U.S. Senate.
She also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and before law school, worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal's division in Hong Kong, reports CNN.
If there's one thing Sony isn't lacking, it's corporate titles. That being said, this is clearly a huge promotion for Seligman -- she reports directly to Sony Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton on entertainment matters, and to Sony Corporate chief Kazuo Hirai on all other business, reports Variety. In their press release, Sony stated that she would "drive profitability, growth and innovation in the company's entertainment sector."
In other words: cut costs. Last year, the company came close to spinning off its less-than-thriving entertainment division, which includes the company's movie, television, and music divisions, but instead chose reorganization. To date, they've cut $200 million off the books, according to Variety. Her new duties will likely focus on fixing the division's bottom line.
It's a far cry from her earlier days, arguing in impeachment hearings for the President of the United States, and a great example of how valuable GCs can be to a company on the business side of operations.
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