Sony Ericsson Loses U.S. Chief

With sales plummeting and its smartphones failing to woo new customers, Sony Ericsson follows its warning that first-quarter sales will be disappointing with the announcement that Najmi Jarwala, president of Sony Ericsson USA and head of the North America region, is leaving the joint venture.

Two days after announcing a worse-than-expected first-quarter loss, Najmi Jarwala, president of Sony Ericsson USA and head of the North America region, said March 23 he was leaving the company at the end of March. Anders Runevad, executive vice president of Sony Ericsson and Global Sales & Marketing chief, will assume Jarwala's responsibilities until his replacement is found.
"We have introduced an increasing number of new products, grown market share, built operator relationships and, perhaps most importantly, have laid the foundation for North America to play a key role in the long-term growth and success of Sony Ericsson," Jarwala said in a statement.
That may be true, but Sony Ericsson's March 20 warning suggests the company formed by Sony and Ericsson in 2001 is feeling the hard bite of the global recession. Sony Ericsson's business was booming as recently as 2007 on strong Walkman and cell phone camera sales. But sales began to slow in Europe, and the trend has continued throughout all of Sony Ericsson's regions.
Unable to match the scale of Nokia's low-end cell phone efforts, Sony Ericsson was whipsawed when its smartphone entries failed to gain traction against Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry series. Sony Ericsson said March 20 it expects to ship around 40 percent fewer units in the first quarter than in the previous quarter.
Despite Sony Ericsson's poor cell phone showing, a Sony spokesman told the Wall Street Journal March 22 the company has no plans to divest itself of the partnership.
"We will continue to be committed to the joint venture," the spokesman said.