Sony President and CEO Kaz Hirai Is Stepping Down Effective This April

Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai to step down

Sony President and CEO Kaz Hirai Is Stepping Down Effective This April

After six years acting as Sony's CEO, Kazuo Hirai is stepping down from his post. Hirai will remain chairman.

Hirai, who is fluent in English, assumed the top role in 2011 after moving from his position as head of the firm's network products and services division to replace Howard Stringer. But over the past 20 years, "the global business environment surrounding Sony has changed drastically".

Sony Corp.'s promotion of Kenichiro Yoshida to chief executive officer elevates a veteran executive who was instrumental to the electronics icon's turnaround by pushing through painful changes.

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Sony's board members said they were surprised Hirai wanted to step down.

Over the past few years Hirai has spoken on numerous occasions about the importance of PSVR not just to Sony Interactive Entertainment but also the entirety of the company.

Once a market leader in consumer-electronics, the maker of the Walkman and Trinitron TV in recent years fell behind the likes of Apple in innovation and the more nimble Asian rivals in price competition. As chief financial officer, he was credited with turning the group round.

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Demand for Sony sensors is expected to continue and grow as interest rises in augmented reality and as more OEMs - particularly those in China - double-down on producing smartphones with dual-cameras. "I was impressed by Hirai's no-nonsense approach to dealing with problems".

Kazuo Hirai, who has been credited with turning around the once-beleagured Japanese electronics company, will remain chairman but Kenichiro Yoshida, now chief financial officer, will take over his role. And it excites me to hear more and more people enthuse that Sony is back again.

Yoshida added, "I believe that Sony's greatest strength is the SONY brand that resonates with so many customers around the world".

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Hirai said Yoshida combines a "deeply strategic mindset with a relentless determination to achieve defined targets".

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