New Sony CEO earns pay cut as well as promotion

TOKYO, June 5 Tue Jun 5, 2012 3:39am EDT

TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) - Sony Corp CEO Kazuo Hirai will earn less this year despite his elevation in April from deputy to the top post, after the once stellar consumer electronics company posted a record loss and its fourth straight annual deficit.

Shareholders will be asked to approve payments totalling 799 million yen ($10.21 million) in base salary payments to 21 executives for the business year that ended on March 31, according to documents submitted to stock owners on Tuesday ahead of its annual June 27 shareholders' meeting.

Seven of those eligible for bonuses paid in the current year, Hirai included, have returned the significant end-of-year portion of their pay following Sony's dismal performance, the document revealed.

Bonuses to eight executives last business year totalled 224 million yen, or about a fifth of overall compensation paid to the most senior managers.

Monthly salaries would shrink this year too, Sony spokesman George Boyd said. "The base rate will continue to be cut," Boyd told Reuters.

Hammered by a TV business that has accumulated losses in excess of $10 billion in the past decade amid competition from foreign rivals, particularly Korea's Samsung Electronics , Sony under Hirai is looking to turn around its business.

Hirai said he would focus on expanding Sony's gaming business, digital cameras and mobile phones, begin a medical unit and look to slash costs.

Investors, however, have yet to be convinced that Hirai has a plan that will halt the losses. Its share is trading at its lowest level in more than three decades and is down almost 40 percent since the business year started.

Shareholders in June will also be asked to approve Sony's 14-member board.

($1 = 78.3 yen) (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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