Sony CEO aims to reassure investors
TOKYO — Sony Corp. chief executive Howard Stringer credited “very loyal’’ PlayStation Network gamers for flocking back to the service in big numbers, as he sought yesterday to reassure shareholders following a series of embarrassing hacker attacks.
Stringer apologized for the data breach in April, which compromised personal data from more than 100 million online gaming and entertainment accounts. Sony was subsequently criticized for lax security and acting too slowly to inform customers as it grappled with one of the largest-ever security thefts.
Stringer said at an annual shareholders meeting held at a Tokyo hotel that up to 90 percent of subscribers have come back since the Japanese company began restoring service last month.
“Our brand perception, you’ll be happy to know, is clearly improving again,’’ he told a less-than-happy crowd.
Executives faced harsh questioning from individual shareholders, who expressed frustration and anger over the hack. One man even asked for Stringer to step down. Though his suggestion generated scattered applause, it ultimately went nowhere.
Sony estimates the hacks will cost $173 million in increased customer support costs, freebie packages to welcome back customers, legal fees, lower sales, and measures to strengthen security.