The affable executive has spent his entire career working for the studio’s distribution division, beginning 40 years ago as a mail clerk.
Longtime Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer will retire at the end of the year and take on an advisory role, the studio announced Thursday.
The well-liked executive, who has been planning his departure for more than a year, has served as president of worldwide distribution since 2008 after serving a six-year stint as president of domestic distribution. All told, Bruer, 63, has worked in the studio’s distribution division his entire career, or 40 years, beginning as a mail clerk. He’ll retire as Sony continues to try to recover from a tough time at the box office and major executive upheaval following the devastating 2014 hack.
Adrian Smith, president of domestic distribution, and Steven O’Dell, president of international distribution, will continue to oversee their divisions. The only change will be that they now report solely to Sony worldwide president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein.
“Fortunately for us, retirement for Rory doesn’t mean goodbye – he will segue into an advisory role exclusive to Sony as he shares his time between his family here and his family at home. He has been part of the studio for 40 years and has worked for one company his entire career, a rarity in this day and age,” Greenstein said in a note to his staff.
Greenstein calculates that Bruer has been involved in the distribution of nearly 1,000 movies through the decades, from Kramer vs. Kramer, Stripes and Steel Magnolias to the blockbuster Spider-Man franchise, the four latest Bond films, Captain Phillips and American Hustle, among numerous other titles.
“When I joined Columbia Pictures in 1977, I would never have believed what the future could hold for me. It has been the privilege of my life to work with all of you and with so many talented filmmakers, helping to bring their amazing work to so many people,” Bruer said said in a separate note. “Though I knew in my heart that the time was right to begin to pull back, it’s hard to let go of a place that has been a part of my life for so long.
Bruer gave a special call out to Greenstein, who arrived at Sony in September 2014 — several months before the hack — and to Sony film chief Tom Rothman, who succeeded Amy Pascal in early 2015.
In his advisory role, Bruer will still have an office on the Sony lot.