Sony losses near US$3bn – new CEO faces tough challenge

2 Feb 2012

Sony's new CEO Kazuo Hirai

Sony’s new CEO Kazuo Hirai faces a tough task in turning the company around as it warns of a larger-than-expected US$2.9bn annual loss.

The company saw sales for the year fall from 2,206.2bn yen to 1,822.9bn yen (US$23.3bn).

It has been a tough year for Sony, which has been impacted by earthquakes in Japan, floods in Taiwan and a series of major hacker attacks on its PlayStation, movies and other gaming and content sites.

But the overriding reason is the competitive landscape in which Sony operates, competing with fast-moving players like Apple and Samsung and performance issues in its LCD TV business.

The company loss of 159bn yen compares with a loss of 72.3bn yen a year ago.

Its Sony Ericsson division, which is being dismantled and brought back into Sony as its own mobile business, made a loss of €233m, compared with a profit of €29m last year. Revenues were down 15.7pc to €1.2bn compared with €1.5bn a year ago.

Hirai, who has taken over from previous CEO Howard Stringer, is a veteran of Sony’s PlayStation division and is credited with turning that division’s fortunes around through aggressive cost cutting.

Hirai has reportedly said he is not afraid of making painful decisions to restore Sony to its leadership position in the consumer electronics industry as the company brought breakthroughs like the Walkman and the PlayStation.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years