Snapchat’s parent company is gearing up for an IPO this year, and it’s made another personnel change before it goes public. Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Entertainment — Sony’s movie, TV and music division — is stepping down to become Snap’s chairman. Sony made the announcement Friday.
Snap, parent company of the wildly popular social media app founded by 26-year-old Evan Spiegel, is expected to make its market debut as early as March, with a valuation reportedly around $25 billion.
“I have been involved with Evan and Snapchat since its early days, and, given its growth since then, decided the time was right to transition,” he said in a statement.
Lynton is one of Snapchat’s earliest investors, and has been a member of the company’s board for almost four years. He reportedly was one of the people who advised Spiegel to spurn Facebook’s now infamous takeover offer worth at least $3 billion.
The move is the latest in Snapchat’s rise from something most people wrote off as a sexting app to an emerging tech power player. In September, the company unveiled Spectacles, video camera-equipped sunglasses that let people shoot videos to be uploaded to Snapchat. The company also adopted the Snap moniker, a clear signal that it was broadening its vision beyond just the app.
While at Sony, Lynton faced his share of rockiness. He presided over Sony Entertainment during a high-profile hack in 2014. Sony said he’d stay on for up to six months as co-CEO with Kaz Hirai, Sony’s chief executive, until they find a successor.
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