After years of failed product launches, bad management decisions, and billions of dollars in losses which have caused its stock price to plunge, Sir Howard Stinger has finally be replaced as the CEO of Sony (NYSE: SNE)
Stringer will be replace in April by Kazuo Hirai, who has run consumer electronics and games. Hirai will have to dig Sony out of a number of deep holes. The first is the many of the company’s consumer electronics products like TV screens, have become commoditized. That leaves them with low margins, if any margins at all.
Hirai will also have to decide what to do with the company’s content businesses, which are operated under Sony Pictures. The studio business is fickle, so profits are not reliable.
And, finally, Sony recently made the mistake of buying the half of smartphone firm Sony Ericsson that it does not already own. It is an also-ran which trails well behind Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Nokia (NYSE: NOK), and an army of smartphones powered by Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android OS. These include products from HTC and Samsung.
Hirai’s management skills, whatever they may be, are likely not to be great enough to turn Sony around for years.
Douglas A. McIntyre