Stringer drew up a plan to streamline Sony by creating marketing,
software, and other platforms common to all the businesses.
Progress was slow. He finally determined it was because he
wasn’t really in charge of electronics; Chubachi, the president,
was. “President” can be a powerful title in Japan, connoting
the day-to-day authority typically commanded by a chief operating
officer in the West. “I didn’t know I wasn’t [in
control],” Stringer says, a hint of sheepishness in his voice.
“I just thought it was a natural part of Japanese companies to
be consensus-driven and I had to spend a lot of time trying to
achieve consensus.” He lost a year.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that when it takes the new CEO a year to figure out he’s not in control of the entire company, that’s a problem.