Sony said Sony Mobile Communications CEO Bert Nordberg will step down and will be replaced by Kunimasa Suzuki, who currently oversees the planning and design of all of Sony's consumer products and services.
Suzuki is one of the top deputies of Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai and has been charged with developing a "four-screen" strategy that ties the company's mobile phone business to its other digital properties. Nordberg will become the chairman of Sony Mobile. The changes will take effect May 16.
The executive shuffling is the latest sign that Sony has firmly taken control of the mobile business. Sony bought Ericsson's (NASDAQ:ERIC) 50 percent stake in their decade-old Sony Ericsson joint handset venture for around $1.47 billion in October, and the acquisition was completed in February, when Sony Ericsson was renamed Sony Mobile Communications.
In a statement, Hirai praised Suzuki as a proven leader in product planning and in developing businesses in emerging markets. "He is a strong leader and the right person to oversee Sony Mobile Communications as we establish a new business structure as 'One Sony' intended to reinforce and accelerate our overall business management," he said. Hirai also said Nordberg "has done an outstanding job in transforming Sony Ericsson, now Sony Mobile Communications, from a feature phone to a smartphone company."
At the Mobile World Congress trade show in February, Sony continued to build out its Xperia entertainment smartphone brand, introducing two additions--the Xperia P and Xperia U. Both Android devices are part of Sony's Xperia NXT series, which tout a connected, multi-screen entertainment experience spanning smartphones, TVs, laptops and tablets.
Despite Sony's enthusiasm in mobile, the operation faces an uphill climb to gain back market share and mindshare with consumers. Along these lines, Sony recently started a new advertising campaign for the first Xperia smartphones under the Sony brand. The campaign, dubbed "Made of Imagination," kicked off with a 60-second commercial directed by Oscar-nominated director Wes Anderson. The campaign will be deployed across TV, print, digital, out-of-home and retail advertising, and will roll out over the course of 2012.
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this CNET article
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