No bonuses for top Sony execs after mega loss

SONY’S top executives got a rap on the knuckles yesterday as the Japanese company declined to pay them bonuses after the company sank to a record loss last year.

Neither former chief executive Sir Howard Stringer nor current boss Kazuo Hirai were awarded a cash bonus for the year to 31 March, during which Sony fell to a £3.5bn loss, the company said yesterday in a regulatory filing.

Announcing the bonus cuts earlier this month, the technology giant said the move will save it £1.86bn.

Stringer, who led the company for 15 years, saw his pay package halved to Y449.5m (£3.62m), including a salary reduction of six per cent to Y277m.

The Welshman was replaced in April by Kazuo Hirai, whose basic salary was upped by 29 per cent to Y88m.

However, Hirai’s total compensation including salary, stock options and benefits came to Y115.6m – just three quarters of his pay package the year before.

Speaking yesterday at Sony’s annual general meeting, at which Stringer was confirmed as chairman of Sony’s board of directors, shareholders questioned why the man who took the company to an unprecedented fourth consecutive year in the red was still an employee of the company.

Hirai said he “needed the advice and support of Stringer,” adding: “Sony’s business is in a very severe state. I am fully aware of this and I promise to change Sony and revive the company.”

He outlined measures to restore the business and said he aims to bring back the “sense of wonder” Sony’s products used to give its users.

Sony, which was at the forefront of technology innovation when it launched the Walkman portable cassette player in the 1970s, has lost half its market value in the last year.

Stringer was the target of much shareholder angst at the meeting in Tokyo and said he “deeply regrets” the company’s mega losses.