Howard Stringer to leave Sony CEO role, promotes Kazuo Hirai

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Sony has announced that Sir Howard Stringer will leave his role as President and CEO; and that Kazuo Hirai – the current head of Sony’s Electronics division – will succeed him. The move is effective from April 1.

“Three years ago, I started to work with the Board on succession plans, and in February, 2009 we named a new generation of leaders to be my management team. Among them was Kaz Hirai, who had distinguished himself through his work in the PlayStation ® and networked entertainment businesses,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

Hirai has risen up the ranks for the past decade or so. He started in Sony’s music division in Japan before jumping over to its Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation) division. He would soon head up the US division, where he would play a role in making the PlayStation brand a household name in gaming.

In 2006, he became vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment and a few months later, he would become president of the same group. In 2009, he was then moved to become the head of Sony’s entire electronics division and an Executive Vice President within Sony. This gave him total control of Sony’s gaming, personal computing, and portable devices; and all of its online services.

“I am grateful to Sir Howard and to the Board for their confidence in me, and I look forward to working with everyone at Sony more closely than ever before to build a strong future for our customers, shareholders, partners and employees,” Hirai noted in a statement.