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Shake-up shenanigans at Sony

Stringer cements his rule

A Sony Corporation reshuffle has left Sir Howard Stringer the even bigger boss of a company that aims to increase efficiency and speed decision-making.

Stringer was chairman and CEO - surely enough for most people - but not president. That job was held by Dr Ryoji Chubachi who was also the CEO of the Sony Electronics business. In a move that is almost laughably a promotion upstairs, he becomes vice chairman of Sony, will 'assist the CEO' and oversee product safety and quality and Sony's environmental issues.

There are two new divisions and two cross-company units in Stringer's new-look Sony. A Networked Product and Services Group will be headed by Kazuo Hirai, who becomes an EVP - he remains president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE).

The new group includes SCE, which will have a new home and mobile business, Personal Computers (VAIO), mobile products (Walkman, etc) and Sony Media and Services, which will be charged with creating a common services platform across the group. The new group will have a firm eye on expanding the usefulness of the PlayStation network.

There will also be a new Consumer Products Group, whose president will be Hiroshi Yoshioka, and he also becomes the executive deputy president of Sony Corporation. His existing role is president of the Sony TV business and that job goes to Yoshihisa Ishida, who was president of the VAIO business group.

This group will look after the the current Television, Digital Imaging, Home Audio and Video businesses. It is expected to increase profitability and growth through product innovation and faster, more efficient operations.

Katsumi Ihara, who was president of the Consumer Products Group, is expected to become an executive director of Sony Financial Holdings Inc (SFH) subject to the determination at the annual SFH Shareholders Meeting to be held in June 2009, and will no longer be a member of the Board or a Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation as of April 1, 2009. Between April 1 and his appointment in June 2009, he will remain with Sony Corporation as Corporate Executive, Executive Deputy President.

The new president of the VAIO business group is Kunimasa Suzuki, currently EVP Sony Electronics in the USA.

The two cross-company units are, firstly, a single Manufacturing/Logistics/Procurements unit which will increase supply chain efficiency by leveraging Sony's scale in procurement and eliminating duplication and redundancy. It will outsource some manufacturing and design processes and have a say in increasing Sony's green profile.

Secondly, there is a Common Software and Technology team to develop and implement integrated technology and software across the product groups and carry out co-ordinated software development.

All these changes start as from April 1 - clearly not a date with the same connotations in Japan as in the UK. ®

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