BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — Mark Twain once said, “The report of my death has been greatly exaggerated,” and Sony president Mike Fasulo echoed that sentiment regarding his company’s CE business.
Speaking to a small gathering of reporters, here, Fasulo walked back some of what he called “the mistaken interpretation” of Sony CEO Kaz Hirai’s recent comments to Japanese analysts in Tokyo, in which he spoke of a “spin-off” of the company’s device businesses.
“We’re not spinning anything off,” Fasulo declared. “[Hirai’s] message wasn’t ‘we’re getting out of any businesses.’ His message wasn’t ‘we’re divesting ourselves.’ His message was: ‘Different businesses, different markets require a different way of going to market.’”
Fasulo said the strategy of turning Sony’s current A/V business into a wholly owned subsidiary follows the blueprint laid out last year when the company “split out” its TV business.
“These are volatile categories and need some different solutions to be successful,” he said.
The strategy of breaking out categories into separate subsidiaries “gives the group clear accountability, which is critical in our business, and it also gives them autonomy in decision-making. It also provides for a light infrastructure, which allows us to be competitive and successful in the space we’re in.”
Fasulo described the audio business as “an opportunistic business,” similar to the TV business, in which independence and autonomy in decision-making with a light overhead has proved crucial in turning the business around. “I feel as if we got very clear direction and that direction is very well aligned with what I started when I got appointed a year ago. We need that focus, and I hope you’ve seen we realized that focus. We built that focus around product, process and people,” he said.
Fasulo stressed the effectiveness of the strategy regarding the TV business and beyond.
“On a financial basis, the U.S. electronics business had its strongest year in 10 years,” Fasulo said. He declined to elaborate in advance of Sony’s formal fiscal earnings announcement next month.
Looking ahead, Fasulo said Sony’s approach will remain focused on profitability and not market share. The company has enacted measures to continue to simplify the back end, improve cost structure and focus on the development of its labor force.
Sony will also shutter eight of its remaing 10 Sony Stores, maintaining flagships in New York and Los Angeles.