Sony has a new lead man. Howard Stringer will be heading out (probably to play a few rounds of golf), while long-time Sony
exec Kazuo Hirai will take over as Sony's President and Chief Executive Office. Sir Howard won't be leaving entirely; he'll be moving over to become Chairman of the Board of Directors in June. The move isn't entirely unexpected, as Kaz has been playing a larger role in the company for some time now. 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.
Here's a quote from the new boss: "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."
Those are bold and interesting words. Sony understands that they haven't produced hit after hit, with the PSPgo widely regarding as ho-hum and even the PS Vita seeing drooping sales of late. LCD TVs aren't the profit powerhouse that they once were, and the Walkman has seen better days. But Sony's still Sony, and Kaz knows that it'll take some major efforts to contend with the other big shots in the tech universe. Hard to say what kind of stamp he'll put on things, but we're guessing the new "Sony" line of smartphones (bye, Ericsson!) will be a great chance to prove that Sony still has what it takes.