Amy Pascal
Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal poses during the premiere of "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California, in this file photo taken Dec. 11, 2014. Pascal will step down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and start a production company at the studio that was hit by a major cyberattack last year, the company said on Thursday. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/Files

Amy Pascal is leaving her position as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment to start a new production venture within the company, the company announced Thursday. Pascal’s job has been the source of speculation since hackers released a trove of internal Sony email in which she made racially insensitive jokes about U.S. President Barack Obama.

Pascal, 56, was highly regarded in Hollywood before the Nov. 24 Sony hack shed light on her acerbic private conversations with producer Scott Rudin. In the messages the pair joke that Obama’s favorite movies include “Django Unchained,” “12 Years a Slave” and others that focus on race.

Pascal will launch her operation within Sony starting in May. She explained in a press release from Sony Pictures that she and Sony CEO Michael Lynton have long discussed moving her into a producer role. They have worked together for the past decade, with Lynton handling the business and financial decisions at the studio and Pascal keeping tabs on the creative side.

“I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” Pascal said in the statement Thursday. “I am leaving the studio in great hands. I am so proud of what we have all done together and I look forward to a whole lot more.”

Pascal has been involved with a number of the studio’s biggest hits, including “The Da Vinci Code,” “Skyfall” and Best Picture nominees “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Social Network” and “Moneyball,” among others.

Since the hack, which the FBI has said was a retaliatory act from the North Korean government upset over the assassination comedy “The Interview,” Pascal has been using four hand-held devices and a carousel of user names and passwords as a security precaution, according to Vanity Fair.