Sony's newly annointed CEO and President Kazuo Hirai has a monumental task in front of him. He inherited a company that's coping with weak TV sales, disruptions in the electronics market due to the severe flooding in Thailand, and a strong yen, all of which came together to wreak havoc on Sony's bottom line. The struggling electronics company posted a net loss of 159 billion yen, or about $2.1 billion, for the October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 quarter.
"Consolidated sales decreased significantly year-on-yer primarily due to the impact of the floods in Thailand, deterioration in market conditions in developed countries, and unfavorable foreign exchange rates," Sony stated in its consolidated financial report (PDF) .
Hirai represents a generational change in leadership for Sony, and perhaps that's exactly what's needed. Sony isn't the same big-man-on-campus that it was decades ago and now faces intense competition in each of its market specialties, from gaming consoles to TVs and music. According to a report in The Washington Post , this is the fourth year in a row Sony has posted a loss. Hirai, at age 51, will become Sony's youngest CEO when he assumes the role in April and is prepared to make some tough decisions.
"Sony must steer a new course," Hirai said at a new conference. "We will need to make painful decisions and execute them, but I believe these are unavoidable for Sony's future."