PlayStation chief quits for post at Internet portal

Sony PlayStation marketing chief, Alan Welsman is quitting to join Speedy Tomato, the multi-access Internet portal.

The UK marketing director for Sony Computer Entertainment has been hired to exploit the growth of WAP, third generation (3G) mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). He starts as UK marketing director on January 3.

After starting at SCE as international PR manager, Welsman says that after seven years with the company he needed a “new challenge”.

Speedy Tomato has already appointed St Luke’s as the creative agency and is looking for a media buying agency.

Welsman says: “I felt it was the right time to be moving on.

“I have been at the company for the launch of PlayStation and PlayStation 2. It will be a wrench to leave because it is a great company to work for.”

He adds: “Exploitation of the mobile phone will be the biggest area of growth in the next few years. Games, films and music will soon be part of the landscape through the mobile phone.”

Speedy Tomato, part of the Scandinavian communication and Internet company Telia AB, will launch commercially early next year.

Initially, it will offer basic services such as personal diary and address book, e-mail direct to mobile phones, and individually-tailored news and ads from personally-selected companies.

Welsman’s resignation comes as Tesco announces it has secured 2,500 PlayStation 2 consoles through the grey market which it will put on sale at five of its stores today (Wednesday).

Tesco ended up in a dispute with Sony five years ago after changing the leads on its imported PlayStation One consoles without informing its customers or Sony.

The supermarket has swapped the European plugs on the PS2 machines for British ones. “It’s all totally legal. All plugs have passed our safety tests.”

The chief executive of rival Sega Europe, Jean-Francois Cecillon, has resigned, increasing speculation that Dreamcast is losing the computer games console war to PlayStation 2.

A spokesman for Sega says the company will not replace Cecillon and that his duties will be handed over to Sega Europe chief operating officer Kazotoshi Miyake, while the chief executive title will be passed to the company’s global chairman, Isao Okawa.

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