Sony Corporation could be set for a new position in the electronics industry after appointing a new chairman, Kenichiro Yoshida.
The Tokyo-based electronics giant named Kenichiro, Yoshida, the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as Sony new CEO on February 2, replacing Kazuo Hirai, who led Sony through one of its most difficult times in the electronics industry.
Hirai replaced an American, Howard Stringer, as Sony CEO since 2012 and has been awarded credits of turning some lagging fortunes at Sony around by implementing a "One Sony" program. The company has impressed in the Smartphone market through image sensors and entertainment while losing out in the TV market to the likes of Samsung and LG.
A press release by Sony Corp., suggests that Hirai proposed the management transition to the company's nominating committee before its approval by the Sony Board of Directors on February 1. The statement revealed that the Sony new CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, will assume the leadership role from April 1, 2018.
What's next for Sony?
Speculations are high that the new Sony leadership may unload some of the company’s unit to channel its revenue on a viable market. Mobile phone and financial services are among the divisions most analysts think would be auctioned by the new CEO. While arguments are also raging that Yoshida would rather auction the SPE.
Sony analyst, Damian Thong said, "One reason Sony has remained relevant is an understanding that electronics is linked to content and an understanding of how Hollywood works. SPE is not a monolithic movie business, and what Yoshida-san wants is the right mix of investment across that set of businesses."
EMJ capital's Eric Jackson suggests that Yoshida would rather acquire entertainment counterparts such as Lionsgate or MGM to boost its revenue from SPE instead of disposing of the division. "I would guess it's more likely they sell their mobile phone and financial services units rather than their Pictures unit. They have more IP to mine, like Jumanji," Jackson said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Yoshida was not pleased when Marvel took over Spider-Man's merchandising rights from Sony in 2011. He is also known to be in support of leveraging IP across the company's divisions.
An anonymous Sony analyst said, "There will be more focus on IP, but you can see that from the movie lineup this year already. They have to do something in the movie business, but I can't see any dramatic change over the next two to three years. If they can form some kind of alliance, and sell maybe 30 to 40 percent of SPE, then that is a possibility."
Expectations are also high that new Sony leadership, chaired by Yoshida would follow steps of the current Sony CEO, rather than overhauling the company.
"I really like Yoshida. I credit him with a big part of the turnaround of the last few years and I expect it to continue," said Eric Jackson "He's really forced transparency on the different business units."