The CEOs Who Don’t Understand The Business They’re In
Akio Morita would have understood it all right. If you bring out Japan’s first transistor radio, if you bring out the world’s first consumer-affordable video tape recorder, if you bring out the first CCD-based video camera , if you bring out the first portable music-player – then you have a massively successful business.
It’s so simple it makes you want to weep. Great products make great companies.
Sony has seen its PlayStation eclipsed in the market by the Nintendo Wii.
Sony has seen its market-leading position in TVs massively eclipsed by Samsung.
Sony has seen its portable music business eclipsed by Apple.
Sony has seen its e-reader eclipsed by Amazon.
And still there are buffoons about who believe that any good businessman can run any company in any industrial sector.
Sir Howard Stringer made savage cuts and terminated 30,000 people in his five years as CEO of Sony, but the company’s product record under his leadership has been lamentable.
Stringer’s previous experience was basically as a TV guy. Although Sony has TV interests, TV is not the core of Sony’s business. Now Sony is looking for a new CEO.
Stringer’s appointment may not have been quite as weird as Nokia appointing its lawyer to be CEO, but it comes close.