Sony names PlayStation champion Kaz Hirai as CEO

Japanese electronics firm Sony has announced that is has appointed Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai as its new president and CEO. The former president of the Consumer Products and Services Group, credited with making PlayStation a household name, Sony will assume his new role on April 1, replacing current president and CEO Sir Howard Stringer, who will become chairman of the Board of Directors in June.

Hirai is also expected to be appointed to the Board at the June shareholders meeting, when the current Chairman, Yotaro Kobayashi, will retire.

Hirai described the situation he inherits as “challenging”, but outlined the areas that the firm would now focus on:

“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,” he said.

“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 array of networked services, to engage with our customers around the world in new and exciting ways.”

Hirai began his career with Sony Music Entertainment Japan in 1984 where he coordinated marketing of international music in Japan, before going on to head the international business affairs department. He then worked in Sony Music Japan’s New York office coordinating the marketing of Sony Music Japan artists in the US. Most recently, he has been overseeing the firm’s Consumer Products and Services Group and became chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment on September  2011.

“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,” said Stringer. “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.”


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