updated 08:25 am EST, Fri February 27, 2009
Sony Merging Groups
Sony on Friday continued efforts to improve its business and said (registration required) that it would launch a major reorganization of its electronics groups. Under the new plan, company CEO Sir Howard Stringer will also become president of the electronics business; simultaneously, the company's key PlayStation, VAIO and Walkman divisions will be united. The moves take effect at the start of April and put current electronics president Ryoji Chubachi in a vice chairman position, while consumer products VP Katsumi Ihara leaves his position and will instead have just a board position at Sony's financial group.
The changes are spurred on by Stringer's desire to speed up improvements that have long been in planning for Sony. The efforts have taken on greater urgency as the company has posted its first loss in 14 years and has outlined intentions to cut 16,000 jobs to minimize the impact. Much of the impact has come from a steep drop in BRAVIA HDTV sales due to the world economic crisis.
While not all of the Sony chief's intentions are clear, he and outside observers have frequently criticized the company's tendency towards isolation with its individual businesses. Internal rivalries and a lack of cooperation have often been blamed for Sony allowing Apple's iPod to outpace the Walkman even in Japan, as the Sony music division initially resisted attempts to open a digital music store while the Walkman group wasn't able to fully integrate its portable music players with other Sony devices until after the iPod had established itself.