Michael Lynton

Michael Lynton

Michael Lynton (born January 1, 1960) is an American[citation needed] businessman who has led several media related companies including Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company's Hollywood Pictures and Pearson's Penguin Group.[1] Since January 2004, he has been Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment [1] and has served on many Boards of Directors including JAMDAT Mobile.[2] Lynton is trilingual in French, English, and Dutch. He attended the American School of The Hague, Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College, and Harvard Business School.



Lynton was born in England in 1960 to a Dutch family that escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930s.[3] They settled in the Netherlands where Lynton lived as a child before coming to the United States to attend Phillips Exeter Academy. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Harvard in history and literature in 1982, he worked for a short period of time in finance at an investment banking firm on Wall Street. He returned to Harvard for his MBA, graduating in 1987, and began his career in media at The Walt Disney Company.


He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and Teach for America and on the board of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, the Jewish Television Network and the Rand Corporation. Lynton has worked with his fellow board members at the Jewish Television Network to compile an annual list of the “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America,” which has been published in Newsweek since 2007.[4]

Views on the Internet

Lynton has been vocal on the topic of copyright infringement and particularly online piracy. At a panel discussion hosted by Ken Auletta for The New Yorker in May 2009, Lynton said, "I’m a guy who doesn’t see anything good having come from the Internet, period. [The internet has] created this notion that anyone can have whatever they want at any given time. It’s as if the stores on Madison Avenue were open 24 hours a day. They feel entitled. They say, ‘Give it to me now,’ and if you don’t give it to them for free, they’ll steal it.” [5]

Lynton later elaborated on his remarks in an opinion piece for the Huffington Post saying, “And my point is this: the major content businesses of the world and the most talented creators of that content -- music, newspapers, movies and books -- have all been seriously harmed by the Internet.” He added, “To be clear, my concern about piracy does not obscure my understanding that the Internet has had a transformative impact on our culture and holds enormous potential to improve the prospects of humanity, and in many instances already has.” [6]

Previously, Lynton had worked extensively on internet related matters. He was President, AOL International, and CEO, AOL Europe starting in 2000, where he was responsible for AOL Europe as well as for AOL operations in Asia and Latin America.


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