April 12 - Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai outlines major revamp, including six percent cut in workforce; says he hears the call for change. Arnold Gay reports.
Kazuo Hirai's honeymoon was brief, ending just 10 days after he took over as the new Sony CEO. On Tuesday, Hirai doubled the company's full-year loss forecast to $6.4 billion. Two days later (April 12), he confirmed widely reported job losses. (SOUNDBITE) (JAPANESE) SONY CORPORATION CEO KAZUO HIRAI SAYING: "In 2012, overall the Sony group has plans to lay-off 10,000 employees worldwide." Outlining a major reorganization at the firm's Tokyo headquarters, Hirai says he's heeding the call for change. (SOUNDBITE) (JAPANESE) SONY CORPORATION CEO KAZUO HIRAI SAYING: "Sony has no choice but to change immediately. Since becoming the CEO of Sony, multitudes of voices including stakeholders, investors, stockholders, members of the media and so forth have been calling for change, encouraging change and we have heard you." In a move to stop the bleeding, Sony is aiming to cut fixed costs in its TV business by 60 percent within the next two years, and trim operating costs by 30 percent. Sony's TV unit has lost money for the past eight years. The electronics firm is also eyeing new business opportunities in the fast-growing medical sector, with an annual sales target of $600 million from the sector by 2015. Media reports name Sony as one of several firms interested in debt-ridden medical equipment maker, Olympus. Sony also wants to be a global player in the mobile phone market, and will explore joint ventures into the E-vehicle battery segment. Hirai has already rejigged Sony's business structure, to allow him a more active role in the day-to-day operations. To promote better integration of its products, especially in home entertainment and consumer products, all of Sony's 14 business heads report directly to him. Arnold Gay, Reuters.