Sony Ericsson's president, Hideki "Dick" Komiyama, is to retire at the end of the year, the company said Monday.
The new president for the loss-making handset maker will be Bert Nordberg, who will move over from Ericsson. Nordberg, who currently heads up Ericsson's networking research and development wing in Silicon Valley, will become co-president of Sony Ericsson at the start of September, to allow for a smooth transition.
"In the two years he has been at Sony Ericsson, Dick Komiyama has made some very important changes to their organization and laid the foundation for the company's turnaround," Ericsson chief executive Carl-Henric Svanberg said in a statement Monday. "Although we are sorry to see him leave Sony Ericsson, we fully respect his decision."
Sony Ericsson has been losing money since the middle of last year, and is in the process of laying off thousands of workers in a bid to return to profitability. The company is pinning its hopes on a new entertainment-centric strategy. The new multimedia handsets that form part of that strategy are due to appear later this year.
The timing of Komiyama's departure is "strange" given the imminent release of Sony Ericsson's new handsets, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi told ZDNet UK on Monday.
"A lot at the moment is resting on those new products coming in the fourth quarter," Milanesi said. "It seems to me that they've not given the products the opportunity to show something. If they are thinking that the new products might start to turn things around, it is a bit of strange timing [for Komiyama to leave]."
Komiyama said in the statement that he felt it was the right time "to begin transferring the leadership of the company to a person who is able to complete the transformation program and lead Sony Ericsson through its next phase of development."
Meanwhile, Howard Stringer, Sony's chief executive, chairman and president, will take on an additional role, replacing Svanberg as chairman of the board at Sony Ericsson.
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.