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Sony Presents the Premium Experience

Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics’ president and COO, tells how he is leading with velocity

April 23, 2014 By Nancy Klosek
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Dealerscope: Now that you have several months under your belt as president and COO, we wanted to get a sense of your strategies for communicating your vision for Sony Electronics. How is your planning being informed by the spinoff of the TV division into a separate subsidiary and by the job cuts? And what it is that you want your dealers to know about these changes, Sony’s relationship with them, and what they have come to expect from Sony in support in every aspect of that relationship?

Mike Fasulo: No question that I have my work cut out for me. This is clearly a challenge. But there should also be no doubt that I’m totally up for it, and committed to get this company [continuing] on our leadership path. I want to make that very clear. And I’ll do it with velocity. The definition of velocity is not just speed, but speed with direction. Leading to the direction, first let me make clear the difference between [the decisions about the] VAIO and TV [groups]. That came out of the February 6th earnings announcement kind of combined, and it’s really an independent decision.  The VAIO decision was one of sustainability of profit, because we couldn’t see a path to profit and growth and significant market share.

 So [it was] decided to sell off that business and that brand name and exit the business. Very different than TV. TV is 100 percent a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation. The reason we’re spinning it off is to give it freedom – and not freedom from the point of view of ‘do whatever you want,’ but freedom from the point of view, again, of moving with velocity, making informed decisions on strategy, future technologies, investments, etc. So it’s really similar to the way we treat PlayStation – as an independent entity but owned by the corporation. I wanted to lay that out first, because it ties directly into my strategy, and what I’m doing here at SEL (Sony Electronics). I’m terming it ‘going small, to grow,’ and it’s critically important that the grow piece goes along with going small.

We were in a situation where we couldn’t invest in almost anything because our dollars were all tied up in internal fix costs. So I had to go through the gut-wrenching decision of releasing people, which is never easy and should never be easy. But it was necessary. With that, what we’re really looking at now is what I call the key word: focus. And focus as our go-to-market strategy will be around where the consumer gives us credit. And where the consumer gives us credit is as a premium brand. So we’re going to be focused on premium, across a very few areas, meaning we can’t have the number of SKUs that we’ve had in the past. We cut our SKU count by 60 percent – now that includes accessories and lenses as well. We’re very focused around home entertainment, which is television and sound, and very focused around imaging – and there are some real opportunities in imaging.

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