EXCLUSIVE: Sony Australia is reeling after their general manager of consumer marketing announced that he is quitting the company, to take up a new marketing role. His exit comes as the Japanese manufacturer struggles with bad PR, declining sales and a lack of profits.Toby Barbour who joined Sony in 2006 from Olympus told colleagues that he was leaving on “good terms” but has refused to say where he is going.
Barbour, who worked closely with Sony CEO Carl Rose during the past five years, has seen the company go from being a leading brand in the consumer electronics market to today having to compete on price in an effort to meet sales targets in Australia.
He has also witnessed a massive decline in profits and revenue at Sony Australia, who is tipped to announce another poor year after last year reporting a $201M slump in sales.
Profits in 2010 went from $49 million in 2009 to a loss of $9 million.
Barbour has told Rose that despite what Sony does at a head office level Sony Australia’s sales operation is struggling to sell into retailers at a State and head office level.
It’s believed that Sony Australia is set to implement an overhaul of their sales operation.
In recent weeks Sony has been hit hard following a global attack on their Playstation Network that was bought down by hackers.
The network, which was a key part of Barbour’s marketing strategy has been down for two weeks and could be down for another week according to Sony.
A recent survey of 2000 Sony customers who used the Sony entertainment network revealed that more than 55 percent said they would not buy a Sony product again.
Barbour said recently that IPTV and their entertainment content network was a “key differentiator “for Sony Australia, who have spent the last 12 months pushing their 3D TV and network content capability.
He said of their content network: “It’s shifted the goalposts for how Australians can enjoy TV at home. It has made TV the format of choice again for Australian households,” Barbour said.
“At the end of the day, without content, the television is just an empty box.
Sony CEO Carl Rose has not commented on the exit of Barbour.