Sony Mobile is the latest manufacturer to undergo a European restructure, with a
number of senior management figures departing the organisation as a result.
Senior Sony team
Mobile can exclusively reveal that Catherine Cherry has departed as UK marketing director, and Nigel Whitehead has left his post as head of retail and distribution, MVNOs and Irish market.
Europe has continued to be a difficult battleground for brands such as Sony, with high levels of penetration making growth a challenge, and the dominance of Apple and Samsung representing a significant hurdle. The firm recently launched its new Xperia Z5 flagship device in the UK, which has been criticised by a number of industry insiders for being overly expensive.
Structural changes at Sony Mobile have come consistently under the leadership of Hiroki Totoki, who took charge at the end of 2014. Alterations to the European structure became clear in May when Pierre Perron departed as president of North West Europe.
The company has consistently explained these organisational changes as being part of greater efforts to ‘drive transformation and profitability’ at Sony Mobile, as well as trying to improve efficiency in its regional business units.
Sony financial challenges
Financially, it has been a challenging period for the brand. Sony said that a decision not to pursue scale in order to improve profitability was behind losses in the first quarter of 2015. Sony reported a quarterly operating loss of ¥22.9bn (£118m), up from ¥1.6bn (£82m) the previous year. The manufacturer’s operating revenue and sales fell 16.3% year-on-year.
Sony refused to comment when asked whether Catherine Cherry and Nigel Whitehead would be replaced. Both were long-serving employees of the Japanese brand; Cherry had been at Sony for 12 years, while Whitehead had been at the manufacturer for eight.
Recently, Cherry was the driving force behind a major UK advertising campaign to promote a new brand positioning for the manufacturer known as ‘we enable you to make your everyday extraordinary’. The campaign, which featured real Sony users, was given a significant ‘above the line’ marketing spend, with adverts across multiple platforms including television and cinema spots.
Sony's European shake-up
In a statement, Sony said: ‘The organisational change in EMEA is part of the ongoing measures to drive transformation and profitability within Sony Mobile, based on the CEO’s management strategy announced in November last year.
‘The re-grouping of customer units into regions is one of the important measures to allow better prioritisation of marketing efforts, as well as more efficient allocation of resources, therefore strengthening Sony’s position within EMEA, which will continue to be a key region for Sony Mobile going forwards.’