Tim Sarnoff has resigned as president of Sony Pictures Imageworks amid a "smooth transition" for the Oscar-winning vfx division under the new Sony Pictures Digital Prods. (SPDP) umbrella formed last year. Sarnoff, who has led Imageworks since 2001, joined the company in 1997 as EVP and GM.
According to a company spokesperson, Sarnoff has informed Imageworks that, having achieved his professional goals at the company, has decided to move on; he's been approached by several parties and is in the process of assessing their offers. Sarnoff's departure is imminent and will eventually be replaced in strictly an operational capacity.
As president of SPDP, Bob Osher will continue overseeing Imageworks, Sony Pictures Animation and Imageworks Interactive. Osher also serves as COO of Columbia Pictures. Debbie Denise continues as EVP of production and exec producer of Imageworks. She oversees Imageworks' producers and digital production management team, as well as crewing and scheduling, production infrastructure, and satellite operations. Denise's duties were slightly expanded last year after the departure of Jenny Fulle, who was EVP and exec producer. Hannah Minghella continues as president of production for Animation, which she began last year.
Under the streamlining and restructuring, there will be more of an artist-centric approach to vfx and animation, with greater emphasis on the company's key strength: creature and character animation. Thus, Senior VFX Supervisor Ken Ralston (Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND) will additionally serve as creative guru.
The Imageworks slate this year includes WATCHMEN (March 6), G-FORCE (July 24, including 3-D) and 2012 (Nov. 13), while Animation will release CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (Sept. 18, also in 3-D).