updated 06:35 am EDT, Tue March 27, 2012
'One Sony' and Kaz Hirai to tackle Sony nightmare
Sony has unveiled its new organizational structure (pdf) under the banner of 'One Sony,' just ahead of Kaz Hirai formally taking over the role of CEO from April 1. Most notably, in addition to helming the CEO position, Hirai will be directly responsible for turning around Sony's perennial loss-making TV division. The move is both symbolic and strategic, as Hirai is tackling the company's most problematic division head-on, and is expected to apply the similar cost-cutting strategies that he had employed as head of PlayStation to turn its fortunes around.
Underpinning the struggling Japanese tech giant's game plan moving forward will be the three pillars of 'digital imaging, game and mobile.' Sony has also recently begun to make head way in the health technology segment and mentioned this as a new area of opportunity for the company. However, this is also a segment that has been eyed by its competitors Toshiba, Olympus, and Hitachi all of whom have already claimed their stakes.
In addition to Hirai's appointment as the head of the ailing TV division, another notable appointment is that of Kunimasa Suzuki who will head up the new UX and Product Strategy group. His primary role has been explained as assuming responsibility 'for planning and design in relation to all consumer related products and services, with the aim of strengthening horizontal integration...' Sony has oft been criticized for operating in divisional silos and lacking overall strategic product and service cohesion. The appointment of Suzuki to this role is directly aimed at tackling this longstanding systemic failing in the company.
Sony's product divisions frequently have not communicated with each other in the past for fear of being outperformed by another division picking up on product ideas and divisional strategies. Sony's recent Walkman Z is a recent example of this -- although in many ways a Sony Android smartphone without the 3G radio, it was built and designed completely in house by the Walkman team, with no input from the smartphone team.
Hirai and his new executive team will have a huge task ahead of them. Sony is expecting take a $2.6 billion loss for its fiscal year. With a Japanese economy that is slow, and tough competition fromboth Apple and Samsung to overcome, as well as a high yen, Hirai and co will have plenty to keep them occupied. Perhaps, in many ways, the biggest challenge they have is within. Overcoming years of entrenched systemic failings could be the biggest challenge it has to face. [via Reuters]