Adding another layer to its management ranks, Sony Pictures Entertainment has hired 14-year Warner Bros. veteran Lucy Fisher in the newly created post of vice chairman of its Columbia-TriStar unit.
Fisher, who will assume her new job March 1, will report directly to Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Cos. Chairman Mark Canton--her former Warner Bros. boss. On business matters, she will defer to President Fred Bernstein. Canton and Bernstein continue to report to Sony Pictures Entertainment President Alan J. Levine.
Levine said the new hiring will not change the current reporting structure, meaning no executive will answer directly to Fisher.
Levine denied speculation by studio sources that Fisher's appointment may signal more executive shuffles to come. Her appointment throws into question the fate of TriStar President Marc Platt, who has been rumored to be on shaky ground despite his recently active hand in putting together a number of big movies for the studio.
Sony insiders have suggested a plan may be imminent to replace Platt with either Columbia President Lisa Henson or the studio's production president, Barry Josephson. Sources say Henson and Josephson don't get along and this would be a way to ease those tensions.
Levine, who declined to comment about Platt, insists Fisher's appointment has "no connection" to anything else other than her being a "great addition" to the motion picture team. "She's one of those people everybody has an eye on for years and years and this is a wonderful opportunity for us all," said Levine, who's known Fisher for 18 years.
Fisher is a highly respected executive who has been a fixture at Warner Bros. for more than 14 years, during which time she has overseen such films as "The Fugitive," "The Color Purple" and "Malcolm X." Since 1993 she has served as executive vice president of worldwide theatrical production.
Fisher, who is married to Columbia Pictures-based producer Doug Wick ("Wolf"), said she views her new job as vice chairman of two studios "a great opportunity" and "much bigger canvas to play around with."
"I also like the idea of helping build a company where there are a lot of good projects and good executives--I feel lucky to inherit that."
Before joining Warner, Fisher was the production head at Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios from 1979 to 1981. Her new job will return her to the famous Irving Thalberg building at Sony, where she started her industry career as a reader for United Artists. She subsequently held executive posts at MGM Studios and Twentieth Century Fox.