Lowe says it was his decision to leave Sony

By James Wells

SYDNEY: Sony Australia group marketing manager, Ian Lowe, has confirmed it was his decision to leave the company, effective at the close of business today.

“I have left of my own accord. I was in a situation where it was time for me to leave. I had to make a call and it was my decision. They actually asked me to stay," said Lowe, who will join Southern Cross Sports Marketing as the director of sales and marketing.

"After such a long time, you have either got to keep going or you have to make a change. I am going to a new company with great people who live, eat and breathe sport and I would hate to think in six months time: ‘Why didn’t you take that job, you idiot!’."

Despite several rumours of voluntary redundancies at the company, Sony has not yet announced a formal restructure, which is expected later this month to coincide with the new Japanese financial year on April Fools Day.

According to Sony Australia corporate communications manager, Nina Hearne, the company is in the middle of a restructure, which commenced this week with the return of popular executive, Carl Rose, to the newly created position of Deputy Managing Director.

"We are indeed in the early stages of planning for a realignment of the business," Hearne told current.com.au.

"This will come as no surprise in view of the corporate vision that Sir Howard (Stringer) has shared on several recent occasions," she said.

Sony Australia is expected to release a statement on Monday 6 March, where two people will be appointed to two newly created positions to replace Lowe’s role as group marketing manager – home network products.

In June this year, Lowe would have celebrated 19 years with Sony Australia.

An engineer by trade, Lowe’s first job was installing satellite earth stations which are now operated by Optus. After a switch into sales at AWA Australia, Lowe joined Sony Australia in 1987 in the broadcast division, before moving into product management. In 1995, he was appointed as marketing manager of the professional products group. In early 2002, Lowe was appointed to the position of group marketing manager – home network products, which he has held for four years.

"I’m effectively going to the other side of the fence as it were. From now on it will be sport, sport and more sport."

According to Lowe, the opportunity to join Southern Cross came about when the company’s owner and director, Daryl MacGraw decided to remove part of his responsibility in the business to pursue other opportunities. Southern Cross specialises in sports marketing, hospitality and sponsorship, and has previously worked with Sony Australia during the World Cup Rugby tournament in Sydney.

"Southern Cross specialises in hospitality, but we are also looking to expand that by leveraging it into the general market," Lowe said.

Although he is no longer working for Sony Australia, Lowe believes he will still be involved with the electrical industry.

"Leveraging marketing opportunities between electrical brands, sport and television makes sense – they go very well together.”

Lowe said he will be looking to link consumer electronics companies with marketing opportunities in golf, rugby league, rugby union as well as through strategic trade incentive programs to add value to a sponsorship by involving retailers and consumers.

"It is very easy to say ‘I have bought a sport’ and from that you get some advertising and tickets to the games. But is there an ROI to it? In some cases it needs to go further," Lowe said.

"It is very easy for a lot of companies to run a golf day, but unless there is value to generate sales or returns to the business, maybe you would want to think about it again.”

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