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More management changes for Sony

Sony Electronics names Michael Vitelli president of its Consumer Electronics Group, the division that oversees Vaio computers, digital multimedia devices and imaging products.

Sony Electronics today named Michael Vitelli president of its Consumer Electronics Group, the division that oversees Vaio computers, digital multimedia devices and imaging products.

Vitelli comes from Sony's Broadcast and Professional Company, which handles the consumer electronics giant's U.S. sales and marketing operations. Vitelli has also worked on Sony's portable audio products, which include the Walkman and Discman.

The appointment is the latest corporate reshuffling for Sony, which announced last month that president Nobuyuki Idei was ceding his position to Kunitake Ando. Shortly after, Lisa Simpson, president of Sony's online entertainment group, left the company to work for CBS. Idei remains chairman of the company.

At the time, Sony said the shakeup was aimed at strengthening the electronics division, which Vitelli will head. The Consumer Electronics Group (CEG) is Sony's largest division and responsible for yearly revenues of $12.2 billion, or two-thirds of the company's overall sales.

The reorganizations also are partially aimed at boosting Sony's strategy of reinventing itself as a digital convergence company, combining its brand recognition in audio-video and portable audio products with its emerging popularity in the PC market, where the company's Vaio computers have steadily gained market share.

The consumer electronics firm is laying the foundation to create a network of Sony's digital devices and appliances in the home, including wireless devices, its PlayStation2 console and existing stereos and video players.

As part of this strategy, and in an attempt to expand its PC business, Sony said last week it plans a push of new low-cost multimedia home PCs, starting at $999, aimed at the home entertainment market.

Sony has said previously that it intends to double the number of PCs it ships. Last year, Sony shipped 1.4 million Vaio computers worldwide.

CEG is made up of the Home Networks Products Company, which includes typical consumer electronics appliances such as home television and audio products, along with digital media like the Memory Stick. It also includes the Personal Mobile Products Company, whose products include Sony's Memory Stick, Walkman and Music Clip digital music players; the Personal Networks Solutions Company, which oversees Vaio PCs and displays and Mavica digital cameras; and the Personal Network Company, Sony's information technology development group.

"As a 20-year veteran of Sony, Mike has the extensive, all-around experience to lead CEG into the broadband network era," said Fujio Nishida, who was recently named president of Sony Electronics, in a statement today.

"I have every confidence he will continue to enhance customer perception of Sony as a company that inspires digital lifestyles by creating highly desired audio-video/information technology products and services."