Sony to replace CEO with insider

Sony Corp. appointed Kazuo Hirai as its new president and CEO, replacing CEO Howard Stringer, effective April 1. Pending approval of the company’s board of directors, Stringer will become chairman of the board in June.

“We are shifting to the next generation of management in order to promote mid- to long-term growth strategies,” said Elizabeth Boukis, Sony’s senior PR manager, via email. Boukis would not say whether Stringer was asked to resign his position or himself decided to step down.

Boukis said that Stringer will stay on to “oversee the effective and speedy transition of Kaz Hirai to the role of president and CEO, and establishment of the new Sony management team.”

The appointment of Hirai, who is currently the company’s executive deputy president, was recommended by Stringer, according to a company statement. Stringer said Hirai had “distinguished himself through his work in the PlayStation and networked entertainment businesses. 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.”

Hirai said in a statement that his plan is to drive the growth of Sony’s core electronics businesses, primarily digital imaging, smart mobile and gaming; turn around its television business; and “accelerate the innovation that enables us to create new business domains.”

Hirai is also expected to be appointed to Sony’s board of directors at the June shareholders meeting.

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