Despite managing to streamline Sony operations in his last three years in charge of the Japanese giant, Howard Stringer has failed to deliver a profit for the company and in a bid to reverse this trend, the company has announced that from 1 April, the current head of its PlayStation and consumer electronics business, Kazuo Hirai, will take over as CEO and President.
Stringer, who took charge as CEO of the company seven years ago, said in a statement today that he has been working on a succession plan for the company for the last three years and it was Kaz Hirai, who “distinguished himself through his work in the PlayStation and networked entertainment businesses” who stood out the most.
Stringer will continue as Chairman of Sony Corporation until June when he will take the role of Board Chairman, replacing Yotaru Kobayashi who is retiring. Hirai is also expected to be appointed to the board at the June shareholders meeting.
Hirai, seen above at the launch of the PS Vita, thanked Stringer for his “strong leadership” over the last seven years. He also took the opportunity to clearly set out where he sees the company going in the next few years: “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.”
Sony is facing its fourth straight year making a loss and its stock price is at a 20 year low. It is struggling to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple in terms of volume of production and innovative products.
Hirai is credited with turning around the loss-making PlayStation division of Sony since he took control of it and he will need to do something similar, albeit on a much bigger scale, if he is to succeed as CEO of Sony.