Sony confirms Kazuo Hirai as new President and CEO, replacing Howard Stringer
By Amar Toor posted Feb 1st 2012 3:26AM
Sony has just confirmed Kazuo Hirai as its new CEO and President, validating rumors that have been swirling for a few weeks now. Outgoing CEO Howard Stringer, meanwhile, has been appointed Chairman of Sony’s Board of Directors. The Hirai era officially begins April 1st, while Stringer will assume his new role sometime in June (until then, he’ll remain executive chairman). Today’s announcement, coming a day before Sony’s earnings call, brings an end to more than a year’s worth of speculation, though Hirai’s selection hardly comes as a surprise, considering his recent string of promotions. In April, he was named Executive Deputy President; five months later, he was promoted to Sony Computer Entertainment Chairman. According to Stringer, in fact, Sony has been grooming Hirai since as early as 2009, when the Board began designing its succession plans. Kaz, he says, stood out from the crowd:
Kaz is a globally focused executive for whom technology and the cloud are familiar territory, content is highly valued, and digital transformation is second nature. I believe his tough-mindedness and leadership skills will be of great benefit to the company and its customers in the months and years ahead. I look forward to helping Kaz in every way I can so that succession leads inevitably to success. It was my honor to recommend him to the Board for the positions of President and CEO, because he is ready to lead, and the time to make this change is now.
Kaz, for his part, acknowledges that Sony is going through some “challenging” times at this juncture, but credits Stringer with steadying the ship, and seems clear-minded about the future. “The path we must take is clear: to drive the growth of our core electronics businesses – primarily digital imaging, smart mobile and game; to turn around the television business; and to accelerate the innovation that enables us to create new business domains,” the 51-year-old PSN architect explained. “The foundations are now firmly in place for the new management team and me to fully leverage Sony’s diverse electronics product portfolio, in conjunction with our rich entertainment assets and growing arra