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Sony shifts Sagansky, Olafsson

An executive shuffle at Sony Corp. of America has landed exec VP Jeff Sagansky, at least temporarily, at the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, overseeing manufacturing for CD-ROMs and interactive-game hardware and software.

Responsible for the recent successful launch of the Sony PlayStation, the division previously was headed by Olaf Olafsson, president of the company since its founding in 1991. The unit will now report to Sagansky until a new president for Sony Interactive is found.

Sony Corp. president and CEO Michael P. Schulhof, in a statement issued Sept. 19, said Olafsson would continue to report to him as chairman of a new Technology Strategy group.

Kenji Hori, president and chief technology officer of Sony’s research labs, will work alongside Olafsson on the new group, described only to be “expanding and coordinating research initiatives.”

“It’s what the Japanese call a window seat,” said a source close to the company. “Olafsson will be there as long as Schulhof has a job.”

The moves were seen by some insiders as partly the result of a turf war between Olafsson and the former CBS Entertainment topper, but Sony sources deny that.

Others point to the dissatisfaction of Sony’s Japanese senior management with the rollout strategy of the PlayStation, even though it sold an impressive 100,000 copies in the first weekend.

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