Sony’s Kaz Hirai Officially Promoted To President And CEO

Wait for it… Wait for it… Okay, now Kaz is president!

Early last month reports circulated that long time Sony exec (and avid Ridge Racer enthusiast) Kaz Hirai was in-line to be the company’s next President and CEO, replacing Howard Stringer who would remain with the company as Chairman of the Board. Sony quickly shot down the reports saying that the company “made no announcement in this regard”. Today they officially did make an announcement in this regard.

So here we go again: Effective April 1, 2012 long time Sony exec (and avid Ridge Racer enthusiast) Kaz Hirai will be the company’s next President and CEO, replacing Howard Stringer who will remain with the company as Chairman of the Board.

Are you as surprised as I was? Full press release below:

Sony names Kazuo Hirai as President and CEO; Sir Howard Stringer to become Chairman of the Board of Directors

TOKYO, Japan – Sony Corporation (“Sony”) today announced that Kazuo Hirai has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2012. Sir Howard Stringer, currently Chairman, CEO and President, will become Chairman of the Board of Directors in June, 2012.

Mr. Stringer recommended to the Sony Board of Directors that Mr. Hirai, currently Executive Deputy President, be his successor as President and CEO. Mr. Stringer will continue as Chairman of Sony Corporation until his ascension to the Board Chairmanship, which will become effective upon Board approval following the annual meeting of shareholders in June, when the current Chairman, Yotaro Kobayashi, will retire. Mr. Hirai is also expected to be appointed to the Board at the June shareholders meeting.

Comment from Sir Howard Stringer

“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. 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.”

Comment from Kazuo Hirai

“As challenging as times are for Sony now, were it not for the strong leadership of Sir Howard Stringer these past seven years, we would have been in a much more difficult position. 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. 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 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.”

Comment from Yotaro Kobayashi, Chairman of the Board

“The Board is grateful to Sir Howard Stringer for all he has done to help Sony travel such a long and vital way down the road from an analogue to a digital company. He has clearly recognized the importance of connecting our tremendous products with networks and content so that our devices come fully alive in the hands of consumers. We agree with Sir Howard that Kazuo Hirai is the right man at the right time to lead Sony. He has a unique capacity to inspire people, to build teams, to make the tough decisions, and to think with clarity and foresight about the challenges we face and how to surmount them. We are also pleased that Sir Howard has accepted our request to remain with Sony after June as Chairman of the Board of Directors. His leadership and experience will be of immeasurable assistance to us all.”

Source: Sony

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A gamer since the Intellivision days in the early 80′s, who started writing about and covering the video game industry in 2008. In his spare time he is also a bit of a gun-nut and Star Wars nerd.
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