Sony CEO Howard Stringer strangely silent on PlayStation debacle

Sony CEO Howard Stringer
Sony CEO Howard Stringer

We've asked a lot of questions about the Sony security breach, some of which Sony has been able to answer. But here's a big so far unanswered one: where has Howard Stringer been?

As chairman, chief executive, and president of Sony, he's been strangely silent on the failure of his company's networked entertainment security systems, which were hacked more than two weeks ago.

When PlayStation Network went offline April 20, Sony communicated with customers via its official PlayStation Blog. Company spokesman Patrick Seybold periodically posted tidbits of information about the outage and repeatedly apologized for the service being down.

Then after a week of intensifying customer confusion and ire, it was Seybold who dropped the bomb by revealing PSN and Qriocity were inaccessible because the servers had been infiltrated and 77 million customers' personal information had been stolen.

And it's been Seybold who's been offering semi-regular daily updates over the course of the last week. While it's obviously in his job description to communicate with customers and the public, when a devastating cyberattack hits your company's security systems and your outraged customers fear they're identities may have been stolen and credit cards are at risk, a faceless spokesperson who has no other power within the company won't do.

That's conceivably why the press conference over the weekend featured Kazuo Hirai, Sony's executive deputy president, making amends and explanations for the situation. It made sense that the guy who rose up through the ranks at Sony's networked entertainment business would be pushed out on stage to accept the blame and apologize--even bow as a way of asking forgiveness.

He's also been basically anointed to be Stringer's heir apparent. Hirai is the No. 2 guy at Sony, so it's probably good he gets some practice at dealing with situations like this if he's going to lead Sony someday.

But after Monday's news that 25 million more Sony customer accounts had been stolen delivered yet another blow to the company, it's becoming rather awkward that Stringer has yet to speak up.

Read full story at CNET News

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    Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur. E-mail Erica.