Shake-Up at Sony Ericsson
With lousy financials, a weak platform strategy and just 4.7 percent of the global handset market, Sony Ericsson is on a long, slow march into irrelevance. Unless Bert Nordberg can turn it around.
This morning the struggling handset maker tapped Nordberg, executive vice president of Ericsson, as its new president and CEO. He’ll replace Dick Komiyama, who has apparently decided to retire, though he is smack dab in the middle of implementing the restructuring program that was intended to reinvigorate Sony Ericsson.
“The Sony Ericsson transformation program I began over a year ago is more than half way completed, and I am pleased with what we have achieved so far,” Komiyama said in a statement. “I believe it is the right time for me to begin transferring the leadership of the company to a person who is able to complete the transformation program and lead Sony Ericsson through its next phase of development.”
The right time, indeed. Over the past few years, Sony Ericsson has been overtaken in the high-end handset market by Research in Motion (RIMM), Apple (AAPL) and Samsung and beaten into submission in the low-end market by Nokia (NOK). Among the top five cellphone vendors, Sony Ericsson saw the steepest drop in sales from the first quarter, down 40 percent year-over-year, and continued losses at the joint venture have prompted some to speculate that it could be broken up.
That’s clearly not the case at the moment, though it could be if Nordberg doesn’t manage to speed up that transformation program. Said Nordberg: “Sony Ericsson has taken leadership in the music phones and the camera phones with the Cybershot and the Walkman, but there are some weaknesses in the smartphone segment and we need to restore that.”