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Sony CE Moving Most Operations To Calif. In 2004

Sony Electronics next year will move most of its remaining northern New Jersey-based consumer-marketing operations to its offices in San Diego and San Jose, Calif. National consumer sales management and select support functions will also make the move, the company said.

Hundreds of positions will be affected, although the company didn’t have a precise number. Sony Electronics employs about 1,600 people in multiple buildings in northern New Jersey, and after the consolidation, area employees will be consolidated largely into the company’s headquarters here, which has a capacity of about 1,000. The consolidation will begin next April as building leases come up and run into the summer.

The decision follows the April appointment of Sony veteran Dick Komiyama as Sony Electronics president/COO and the June 1 consolidation of five consumer business units into three: home products; the personal, mobile, and imaging division; and the information technology products division.

Next year’s geographic consolidation will generate “some cost benefits” because employees from most or all of five leased buildings in northern New Jersey will move into unoccupied space in company-owned buildings in Park Ridge, San Diego, and San Jose, said Rick Clancy, senior VP of corporate communications.

The move will also “bring Sony’s consumer businesses together in one place,” yielding “more opportunity for joint promotions and joint business opportunities,” he said. The West Coast is already home to Sony Electronics’ IT products division, which markets Vaio PCs and Clie PDAs in San Diego, and to sister companies Sony Pictures (near Los Angeles) and PlayStation marketer Sony Computer Entertainment, based in Foster City, Calif., near San Jose.

Likewise, Clancy continued, the move will “bring together segments of two consumer divisions located on both coasts.” Marketing functions for the personal mobile division’s camcorder, digital camera, photo printer and Memory Stick products, for example, are already based in San Diego, but marketing staff in the division’s personal audio, mobile electronics and accessories groups are in Park Ridge.