business

A Memo from Sony's New Chief

Howard Stringer urges its staff not to be trapped by its tremendous legacy as buyers, rivals, and innovation's pace have changed

Editor's Note: New Sony (SNE ) Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer sent this memo by e-mail to all employees the morning of Mar. 7, shortly after he was unanimously appointed by the board to replace Nobuyuki Idei. Stringer's message: Expect rapid changes aimed at meeting customer needs faster and better. The full text follows:

To All Sony Group Employees:

I am deeply honored and grateful to Mr. Idei and Mr. Ando for selecting me for this great honor, and I thank them both for their confidence in me. I also am deeply grateful to the Board for its support in granting me these new responsibilities.

In the eight years since I first joined Sony, I have been awed by the depth and breadth of experience within this company, and by the caliber of the individuals with whom I have been privileged to work. We have led the consumer electronics world, and through the creation of wonderful products have changed the way people enjoy entertainment and communication.

As with all great institutions, Sony has built a tremendous legacy over the past 60 years. But we cannot let that trap us or inhibit us, we need to take that legacy and reinvent it.

However, a new strategy and a new focus is not enough. Words, no matter how powerful, are not enough. The world is not the same place it was just a few years ago. The needs and expectations of our customers have changed. The dynamics of the competitive landscape have changed. The pace of innovation across all of the businesses in which we compete has changed. Sony, too, must change. The entire global organization is hungry for this transition and we in senior management are committed to achieving this goal.

Within this company we have the resources we need for success. My job is to create an environment where they can be brought to the surface and flourish. We need to work harder to unlock the talent and creativity of our people. Our businesses must be restructured so they are much more profitable, and so they can grow. Through growth we can fulfill the dreams of our founders, our employees and our shareholders.

I am fortunate to have Dr. Chubachi and Ihara-san by my side as we enter this new and exciting chapter in Sony's history. Their broad knowledge of Sony and of their respective areas of responsibility is of immense value and importance to me, and to the company. Building on what the current management has begun, together Dr. Chubachi, Mr. Ihara and I will work on a plan to accelerate change.

Our team will not hesitate to make tough decisions to make Sony the strongest electronics, entertainment and technology company it can be -- able to aggressively compete with others in each business segment and in each geographical region.

We will accelerate cross-company collaboration, thereby revitalizing the company and promoting creativity. We will renew our focus on combining world-class technological innovation with customer-centric products and services. Growth cannot be achieved just through cost reductions. We need new projects, new ideas, new strategies and alliances -- and a shared vision.

All of our managers must have the authority and the will to manage, and to provide the clear direction necessary for employees to make the right decisions in a timely fashion. We must also identify and nurture new talent.

We can lead the world in finding the sensible center where technology and electronics businesses and content creation businesses can meet and share common goals. In this world we need each other, not only to remain competitive, but also to excel.

And of course, we will continue the company's strong commitment to ethical business practices, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance.

I look forward to working with all of you to make our company, our employees, our friends and our associates proud.

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