New CEO pledges 'painful' steps to fix Sony

Kazuo Hirai vows to make tough decisions to trim costs in efforts to revive beleaguered Japanese electronics company, with focus on networking content and gadgets.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

Incoming Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai is looking to cut costs in the company's TV business and supply chain to turn around the ailing Japanese electronics manufacturer which is facing a fourth straight annual loss.

According to a Bloomberg report Friday, Hirai told reporters at his Tokyo headquarters that Sony would "have to make some hard, painful decisions." "We have to make some hard decisions on where there are redundancies and reduce the fixed costs in a variety of different areas."

Hirai, who takes over from Howard Stringer as president and CEO on Apr. 1, added that he planned to reshape the company by linking hardware and software through online networks, reported Reuters.

The news agency noted that this was the model he previously used to revive the fortunes of Sony's PlayStation computer entertainment unit.

"It's a bigger concept we can grow into a bigger space for Sony overall," said Hirai. He also revealed that Sony, currently the world's No. 3 TV maker, would invest in new technologies and improve its lineup of liquid-crystal-display sets.

According to Bloomberg calculations, Sony's TV division lost more than US$11 billion over eight fiscal years.

Japanese vendors are bracing themselves for a tough year. Panasonic this week forecast a loss of US$10 billion in 2012. Together with Sony and Sharp, the three companies are expected to lose US$17 billion this year. The vendors have been hit by various factors including steeper competition from foreign rivals, weak global demand, and strengthening yen.

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