Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal has stepped down from her position as one of Hollywood's most powerful women after embarrassing emails she wrote about Angelina Jolie were leaked by hackers.

Pascal is resigning from her post as co-chair of Sony Pictures to take up another role at the entertainment giant. It comes after a difficult period for the company caused by an online group called Guardians of Peace.

Hackers published online emails Pascal wrote in which she branded A-list red carpet queen Jolie "a minimally talented spoiled brat". US President Barack Obama was also the butt of racist jokes.

It happened after Sony suffered cyber-attacks for its film The Interview, about a plot to assassinate North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un.

The Interview was pulled from the schedules as a result of the damaging hacks, before being released online by Sony. North Korea issued bombastic denunciations of the film, but it has yet to be confirmed the Stalinist regime was responsible for the theft of enormous quantities of data.

Confirming she was leaving, Pascal said in a statement: "I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energised to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home."

She will take up a role as a producer at the firm.

Hailing Pascal's contribution to Sony, chief executive officer Kaz Hirai said: "Amy worked with some of the best talent in the film industry to create many of our studio's most beloved and successful films. I want to thank her for her years of dedication and I am pleased that she will continue to work closely with SPE in her new venture."