WSJ: Sony CEO wrangled with uncommunicative Kutaragi

Sony exec was placed in new role due to his refusing to inform CEO Howard Stringer about crucial PS3 decisions, reports the newspaper.Sony Computer Entertainment chairman and chief executive Ken Kutaragi was slammed with more criticism today, this time from Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer himself. This comes just three months after an article in Newsweek berated the executive for his “slowness” in securing PS3 exclusives, which it claims cost Sony PS3-only games including GTA IV, and the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, it states that the “uncommunicative” Kutaragi was moved in a recent Sony reshuffle because Stringer found him difficult to work with.


Kutaragi touts the PS3 in 2005.

The article also states that Kutaragi would frequently make decisions without informing chief exec Stringer, and not tell him about problems in the production process. One example alleged that Kutaragi had allowed the PS3 to go over budget on development costs without clearing it with upper management first.

He also advised for cutting the price of the 20GB console by 20 percent in Japan, a decision which Stringer said he agreed to in a hope it would ensure the console’s success, but now admits, “Financially it wasn’t one of my best moments.”

Stringer told the newspaper that in an attempt to patch up relations between the two, he has tried hard to win Kutaragi’s trust, to no avail: “I’ve had dinner with [Mr. Kutaragi] more times than I’ve had dinner with my wife, and that’s not really healthy,” he said.

In December, Stringer moved Kutaragi’s role away from the day-to-day control of the games division, and instead he is now focused on the next-gen games side of the business, the article concluded. SCE day-to-day operations are overseen by president Kaz Hirai, former head of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

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