SAN FRANCISCOSony Corp. Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer will also assume the title of president of the Japanese electronics giant as part of a major restructuring that includes several management changes and the formation of two new business groups. The changes will go into effect April 1.
Sony said the Networked Products & Services group will include Sony Computer Entertainment, Vaio personal computers, and new mobile products, including the current Walkman lines. The group will also include Sony Media Software and Services, which develops a common service platform across Sony products.
A new Consumer Products group will include Sony's current Television, Digital Imaging, Home Audio and Video businesses. Hiroshi Yoshioka, currently president of Sony's TV business group, will serve as president of the Consumer Products group.
"This reorganization is designed to transform Sony into a more innovative, integrated and agile global company with its next generation of leadership firmly in place," Stringer said through a statement.
Ryoji Chubachi, currently Sony's president and CEO of the Electronics Group, will become vice chairman of the company and remain a member of the board, Sony said.
The Semiconductor and Component business group will also report to Yoshioka to help coordination with Sony's products and enhanced profitability for these businesses, Sony said.
Yoshihisa Ishida, currently senior vice president and president of the VAIO business group, will head the TV business group, Sony said.
Last December, Sony announced a series of cost-cutting measures, including a plan to slash about 8,000 full-time jobs in its electronics business and reduce temporary and contract staff. Hit hard by the downturn, Sony said it would curtail or delay investment plans, and downsize or withdraw from unprofitable or non-core businesses.
Sony has been battered by falling prices and slumping demand for flat TVs, digital cameras and other electronics products. Last month the company said it posted a loss for its latest quarter and reiterated its forecast for a record annual loss due to sliding demand and a stronger yen.
The moves announced Friday also include the creation of two cross-company units charged with ensuring that the company's networked products and services can communicate with a common user interface and will reach consumers efficiently. These units include the common software and technology team, to be led by Senior Vice President Keiichiro Shimada, and the manufacturing/logistics/procurement team, to be headed by Yutaka Nakagawa, executive deputy president, Sony said.