Business, Finance & Economics

Kazuo Hirai to take over as Sony CEO


Kazuo Hirai (R) is to replace Howard Stringer (L) as Sony's CEO, the company announced today, in a bid by the firm to restore its image as a global gadgets leader.


David Becker

Sony, the electronics and entertainment giant, has announced that its chief executive Howard Stringer will step down on April 1 and be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, a video game executive who spearheaded a turnaround at the company’s Playstation business.

Hirai will become both president and chief executive of the firm, according to The New York Times, his appointment having been widely anticipated since he became head of consumer products and services last March.

He will become the company’s youngest ever chief executive, the AP reported. Stringer, who became the first foreigner to lead Sony when he took the helm in 2005, will stay on chairman of the board in a non-executive seat.

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The Japanese multinational is predicting a fourth year of net losses for the year to the end of March, with the strong yen and poor sales in its television business hitting it hard, according to the BBC.

Sony is due to announce its third quarter results on Thursday, when further details of its management changes will be disclosed.

Commenting on Stringer’s record as head of the company, Hirai said: “As challenging as times are for Sony now, were it not for the strong leadership of Sir Howard Stringer these past seven years, we would have been in a much more difficult position.”

Sony’s image as a global gadgets leader has faded, with its Walkman brand looking increasingly redundant beside rival Apple’s iPod and iPhone products. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has also overtaken it in liquid-crystal displays for TV sets.  

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