Kazuo Hirai officially replaces Howard Stringer as Sony’s CEO next week. But today he signalled his determination to revitalize Sony’s struggling electronics operations — and potentially take on its more glamorous rival, Apple — by unveiling a wide-ranging reorg. The new plan eliminates the company’s consumer products and services group, which Hirai had led, and the business-oriented professional device and solutions group. Hirai will personally run a new Home Entertainment Business that will include TV sets, arguably Sony’s most important product right now. But the company says that it is “positioning digital imaging, game and mobile as the three core pillars of its electronics business, and going forward aims to concentrate its resources in these areas to further reinforce the businesses.” Here’s the company’s announcement:
Tokyo, March 27, 2012 – Sony Corporation (“Sony” or “the Company”) today announced the establishment of a new management structure. Led by President and CEO Kazuo Hirai, these changes are intended to drive revitalization and growth across Sony’s core electronics businesses, and deliver compelling user experiences through convergence of the unique assets in place throughout the Sony Group. With Mr. Hirai at the center of a management team that will work together with the heads of each business group and platform, this new business structure is intended to establish rapid and optimized decision making processes as “One Sony,” that significantly reinforce and accelerate Sony’s overall business management. The changes are effective April 1, 2012.
Under the leadership of Mr. Hirai, Corporate Executive Officers Masaru Kato, EVP and CFO, and Tadashi Saito, EVP and CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) will oversee the Sony Group’s overall financial management, corporate and business strategies. With respect to the electronics businesses, in addition to Mr. Kato and Mr. Saito, Shoji Nemoto, Corporate Executive Officer and EVP who will oversee technology strategy, and Kunimasa Suzuki, Corporate Executive Officer and EVP, who will oversee product strategy, will take key roles in the management team that will support Mr. Hirai and work together with the heads of each business group, platform and headquarters function to quickly engage in the revitalization of Sony’s electronics operations.
Sony is positioning digital imaging, game and mobile as the three core pillars of its electronics business, and going forward aims to concentrate its resources in these areas to further reinforce the businesses. Sony also plans to accelerate its efforts to drive innovation and new business creation. Mr. Nemoto will be assigned overall responsibility for technology strategies, and will work together with Tomoyuki Suzuki, Corporate Executive Officer and EVP, who will oversee Sony’s core device technologies, to create new businesses and enhance the R&D operations that are the foundations for Sony’s next generation of technological innovation. Mr. Nemoto will also implement a process of stringent selection and focus in the area of R&D, to enable the Company to optimize resource allocation. As Officer in charge of the User Experience (“UX”) & Product Strategy and Creative Platform, Kunimasa Suzuki will assume responsibility for planning and design in relation to all consumer related products and services, with the aim of strengthening horizontal integration and enhancing the user experience across Sony’s entire product and network service lineup. He will also oversee the mobile business that Sony has identified as one of its core electronics business areas, including smart phones, tablets and PCs.
The Home Entertainment Business, including the TV business (which is continuing to address the challenge of enhancing profitability), will be overseen directly by the CEO, Mr. Hirai, who will also be Corporate Executive Officer in charge of these businesses. The device and semiconductor businesses, an area where Sony is excelling with its industry-leading image sensors and other device technologies, and the core device R&D activities which support these businesses, will now be led by Tomoyuki Suzuki. The area of medical technology is also expected to grow significantly in the future, and Sony’s medical-related businesses that had been dispersed across multiple units will now be integrated into a dedicated medical business unit to be overseen by Hiroshi Yoshioka, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President.
In the area of sales and marketing, Haruyasu Nagata, currently President of Sony (China) Co., Ltd will be appointed SVP and head of the Global Sales and Marketing Platform, with the aim of strengthening Sony’s global sales and marketing activities, particularly within emerging markets where significant market growth is anticipated. Nobuki Kurita, currently President, Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc. will be appointed President, Sony (China) Co., Ltd. Hiroshi Kawano will be appointed President, Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc., while continuing his current role as President, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan*.
*A division of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., overseeing the business in Japan