Stringer pledges to halt Sony’s slide

The new head of Sony, Sir Howard Stringer, last week promised to unveil a comprehensive plan in September to restructure the company and halt the decline that has resulted in the loss of three-quarters of its overall value during the last five years.

Stringer said he plans to reallocate resources and shake-up the company, suggesting his first actions might include some downsizing and trimming of product lines.

As former head of Sony’s operations in the United States, Stringer enters his new job facing the challenge of rebuilding the company’s electronics business, which accounts for more than two-thirds of Sony’s revenue but had an operating loss of more than $300 million in the last fiscal year.

Though electronics is the top priority, Stringer did not address the future of Sony’s broadcast or professional products businesses. Presumably, that will come in September.

The creator of the “Walkman” is now facing competition from Apple Computer and its iPod music players and Samsung Electronics, the New York Times reported. Sony has struggled to cut costs enough to keep up with the falling prices of many of its consumer electronics products.

Along with Stringer’s official appointment last week, shareholders approved the selection of Ryoji Chubachi as Sony’s president. Chubachi, an engineer by trade, will be responsible for the electronics division.

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