Resignation puts Sony's US arm in doubt

Beat it: Coup shifts the power centre of beleaguered music business back to Japan

The fate of Sony Corporation's struggling music and film studio interests in the US was up in the air yesterday after the sudden resignation of the head of its American operations for the past six years, Michael Schulhof.

Mr Schulhof, who engineered Sony's move into the entertainment industry at the end of the Eighties, was ousted from his position as president and chief executive of the Sony Corporation of America late on Tuesday.

The removal of Mr Schulhof in effect shifts the power centre in Sony's US subsidiaries back from America to Sony headquarters in Japan. No successor has been named and Mr Schulhof's responsibilities will pass to management in Tokyo, led by Sony's new president, Nobuyuki Idei.

On Wall Street, meanwhile, speculation was rising that Sony may be tempted to find new investors for its film and music units or even unload them entirely. "It's more likely now that they'll spin off the movie and music operations," suggested Dennis McAlpine of Josephthal Lyon & Ross.

Mr Schulhof led Sony into the entertainment business, first with the acquisition in 1988 of CBS Records for $2bn and, a year later, with the $5bn purchase of Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Analysts calculate that today the combined entertainment interests may be worth no more than $8bn, not much more than the company's original investments.

Nor has Sony's foray into Hollywood been happy. Last year the company revealed that it had accumulated $3.2bn in write-offs and losses in its movie studios. Although the film division has since picked up a little, it has had no big hits. Sony Music has also faced hard times recently, its share of the US market dipping to 13.6 per cent from 17.3 per cent in 1993. Most recently, it was hit by the disappointing performance of Michael Jackson's latest album, HIStory.

Mr Schulhof, 53, said he was leaving Sony because he wanted to "explore a new enterpreneurial role outside of the corporation and I am eager to get on with it".

Any attempt by Sony to draw in its horns in Hollywood would represent another chapter in the humbling of Japanese corporations faced with disappointing American investments.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower