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Kazuo Hirai Promoted As Sony Restructures

March 10, 2011 Written by Sebastian Moss

As part of Sony’s ongoing restructuring, Kazuo Hirai, PlayStation boss and Executive Vice President, Officer in charge of Networked Products & Services Group has been promoted to Executive Deputy President of Sony, making him one of three representative directors – the highest executive tier in Japan. With Sony head Howard Stringer looking for a replacement, the recent promotion will test Hirai’s performance in a higher role, with success possibly leading to him becoming Sony’s CEO.

Realigning its business into two core groups, Sony has restructured the company to have one group covering consumer products and services and another covering business to business areas including semiconductors, batteries and other key components. As reported by Reuters, Hirai will be taking control of the consumer products and services group – responsible for roughly 60% of Sony’s turnover.

Talking about Hirai as a successor, Stringer told a news conference:

The board and I have talked about succession planning and this is the first step. We have not made a final decision.

This is an opportunity for the board to watch Hirai-san and judge his performance. There may be other candidates, but he has a leadership position.

“Other candidates” include Hiroshi Yoshioka, who will head the new business to business group, and is Hirai’s biggest rival for the top spot, with Stringer noting:

Yoshioka san has an opportunity to make a lot of money in his group, so the race isn’t over.

With Hirai having “successfully led the turnaround of the games business” at Sony, there is a good chance that one day he will be Sony’s CEO, which is great news for the PlayStation division, due to Hirai’s experience in the sector.