In an effort to fix their financial woes Sony has announced a new management structure with several older Japanese executives either dumped or pushed aside for new “younger blood”. The Company is also looking to networking, content and network devices to help turn the Company around.
The new team will report to Chief Executive Howard Stringer who is being given enormous power to try and fix the ailing Japanese consumer electronics company that is haemorrhaging billions and is struggling to make a profit from most of their product categories.
In a major board meeting last week the company confirmed the appointment of new 15 directors, including the Welsh-born Stringer, who is the first foreigner to head Sony.
Sony has also set up a new business group focusing on network-oriented products and services, such as PlayStation video game operations and Vaio personal computers.
“In the 20th century, this company created great champion products … In the 21st century, other companies took our hardware like the Walkman and added network capability and turned it into the iPod,” Stringer said.
“We are not going to be beaten again in the network age.”
Stringer a former CBS executive will also act as president as well as serving as chairman and chief executive.
The restructure comes as Sony is shedding tens of thousands of jobs, closing manufacturing plants while working desperately to stay competitive in the consumer electronics market.
In the gaming market, the company is struggling to compete against Nintendo and Microsoft. In the TV market, they are fast losing market share with their Bravia TV range and in the one market that looked promising for Sony, OLED display, they are set to be beaten to market by both LG and Samsung.
The restructure of senior management is seen as one last fling for the company that is currently raising billions to fund research and development, marketing and the layoff of tens of thousands of employees.
Ryoji Chubachi, who resigned as president, will remain a director. He will become vice chairman overseeing product quality and environment policies and take a more supportive role.
Masao Morita, the son of Sony co-founder Akio Morita, has been appointed as the head of the company’s music and movies operations in Japan.
Recently Sony, who laid off 32 people in Australia, said that they are expecting even bigger loss for the fiscal year through March 2010, as it gets hammered by sliding global demand, brutal competition from the likes of Apple, Nintendo, Panasonic LG and Samsung.
At the annual shareholders meeting in Tokyo, attended by more than 8,300 investors, Stringer sought to allay investor fears about the future of the company that makes the Walkman music player and PlayStation 3 game machines.
Stringer told shareholders the company was on track to restructure its operations and cut costs by 300 billion yen ($3.1 billion) this year, as he had promised earlier.
A key part of Stringer’s restructuring is a plan to cut the time it takes to make a decision on new products.
According to the Hollywood Reporter Stringer, who is 67, is heading a team of four younger executives, three of them in their 40s — including 48 year old Kazuo Hirai, head of Sony’s game unit, to spearhead efforts to bring together Sony’s sprawling empire, spanning TVs, games, movies and semiconductors, to develop products and services for the digital age.