Sony's Next President Announces Future Plans

Feb 3, 2012
Tadashi Nakamichi, Nikkei Electronics
Kazuo Hirai (left), who will be the president and CEO of Sony April 1, 2012, and Howard Stringer (right), the company's current president and CEO
Kazuo Hirai (left), who will be the president and CEO of Sony April 1, 2012, and Howard Stringer (right), the company's current president and CEO
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Sony Corp had a press conference on its new management structure Feb 2, 2012.

Kazuo Hirai, who will be the president and CEO of Sony April 1, 2012, took the podium and announced his future plans.

First, Hirai pointed out that the current electronics industry is suffering from commoditization and price drops and Sony is no exception. He said that, to survive this severe competition, he will have a strong heart and a sense of responsibility to lead the company and establish a "one-management" system that allows him to quickly make judgments on various issues.

As important measures that Hirai will take as a CEO, he mentioned (1) reinforcement of Sony's core business, (2) rebuilding of its TV business, (3) reformation of its business portfolio and (4) acceleration of innovation.

In regard to the reinforcement of the core business, Sony aims to attain the No.1 positions in the fields of digital imaging business (which is a vertically integrated business) including cameras and camcorders and game business so that the company will be able to turn a profit reliably in those fields.

"We will proactively allocate our resources to the fast-growing mobile business and create new mobile products," Hirai said.

As for the TV business, Sony plans to reduce fixed cost and minimize capital investment in non-competitive fields through outsourcing, etc. On the other hand, it intends to make intensive investments in Crystal LED, OLED and other products developed by using Sony's own technologies and develop competitive products.

To reform the business portfolio, Sony will review all of its businesses and allocate more resources to some businesses while retreating from the others. It plans to make bold judgments on commoditized products, considering even retreating from some businesses or selling them to other companies.

"It might involve some pain," Hirai said. "But we have no time to be afraid of it and stand still."

For the acceleration of innovation, Sony plans to grow its medical business as a new core business. By combining Sony's sensor, signal processing and lens technologies, it is possible to create various medical devices such as endoscopes and X-ray diagnostic devices, he said.

At the press conference, Howard Stringer, the current president and CEO of Sony, took the podium, too.

"I heard that some people say Sony should go back to its old business," he said. "But it is clearly wrong. Mr. Hirai has a fascinating personality and strong will. I believe that he will boldly tackle the challenge of creating genuine entertainment by connecting contents with devices."