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PlayStation reorganises European senior management team

Simon Rutter becomes COO and Tim Stokes named senior VP as president Jim Ryan stresses the importance of regional strength

Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe has promoted Simon Rutter to Chief Operating Officer and Tim Stokes to Senior VP of sales commercial and operations.

Rutter has been part of the PlayStation team since 1997, holding various marketing and sales roles. In his new position he will oversee marketing, finance, IT, legal, HR, third-party relations and content. Stokes will manage sales, commercial and operations.

It's part of a reorganisation of the PlayStation Europe management team following the news last year that SIEE president Jim Ryan will now lead sales and marketing for PlayStation on a global level.

Ryan's added global remit is so the business can work more efficiently globally. Previously, other parts of Sony had to deal with three different sales and marketing teams - Japan, Europe and the US - and this new structure is designed to improve that process.

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Meet the team: Simon Rutter, Tim Stokes and Jim Ryan

"Due to recent changes in the SIEE Executive team, I had the opportunity to review the way the team operates," Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz. "The senior management team at SIEE is a tight and cohesive unit and to maintain this we constantly evaluate the way we operate. I think this approach has been a key factor contributing to our success, especially during the PS4 era.

"As some of my time is spent on my duties as President of Global Sales and Marketing, it is vital that we ensure unity and consistency in how the regional operation is led. By extending the remit of both Simon Rutter and Tim Stokes as well as rearranging some of the territory reporting lines, I believe this will be maintained and improved.

"Both Simon and Tim have a great deal of experience in their roles and their promotions reflect my confidence in their ability to help move the business forward."

He continues: "I remain President of SIEE and so there is no change there. Since the broader changes in the global organisation back in April 2016, I also have responsibility for Sales and Marketing in the global context. As such I also sit on the Global Management Committee of SIE.

"Previously, the other parts of the organisation dealt with three sales and marketing organisations - meaning that agreement and consensus could be time-consuming and even elusive. With this new structure I plan to streamline this process and ensure we are operating globally and as efficiently as possible, whilst importantly retaining our strong regional and local identity."

"The trick - and it's not easy - is to balance the efficiencies generated by a more global approach with a really strong local presence."

Jim Ryan, PlayStation

That last point will likely prove important to third-party partners. Dealing with separate marketing and sales teams may have lacked efficiency, but it meant Sony was often stronger on a local and regional level - particularly in Europe - than its competitors. For instance, PlayStation was historically more likely to sign games and content deals for specific regions, while marketing campaigns were more targeted to suit the taste of European consumers.

"Absolutely, our local presence in Europe is one of our greatest strengths and that won't change," Ryan insists.

"The trick - and it's not easy - is to balance the efficiencies generated by a more global approach with a really strong local presence. 

"On the one hand, you can't do things in different ways, at different times, in different countries and expect it to be successful everywhere. On the other, a one-size fits all approach usually doesn't work either. It's all about balance. This is an approach you will continue to see."

The reorganisation to the European management will help ensure that, Simon Rutter tells us.

"The changes reflect ongoing organisational evolution," he explains. "As a business we are constantly re-tuning in response to both changes in the market and to our own global organisation. I believe that the changes will enable decisions to be made faster and better unite different parts of our complex organisation.

"Like all people at SIEE, my immediate objectives revolve around continuing to build a vibrant platform for players to play in and content developers and publishers to create for. In my role, that means ongoing commercial management supervision and aligning resources to create the best value for SIEE."

Although Rutter has added third-party relations to his remit, he insists little will change for partners as Michael Pattison will continue to lead this area.

"Michael's energy and insight continues to improve the way we partner with third parties and this will not stop," Rutter says. "I hope that my contribution will be to bring these relationships a little closer to the other parts of the SIEE organisation, in order to benefit from the greatest degree of collaboration and maximise the commercial opportunities for both of us."

In terms of the immediate future, Rutter says there are no plans to make any further changes to the European team, although he will continue to evaluate what needs to be done.

He concludes: "Successful organisations are in a constant state of flux these days. If organisations do not change, they suffer fatigue. Whilst there are no specific plans for further leadership changes at present, SIEE does not intend to stand still."

If you have jobs news to share or a new hire you want to shout about, please contact us on newhires@gamesindustry.biz

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