Sony eyes golden boy Hirai for president

Kyodo

Sony Corp. is gearing up to promote Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai to president and let CEO Howard Stringer, concurrently president and chairman, focus on the chairmanship, sources said Saturday.

They said hopes are growing that the 51-year-old Hirai, credited with revamping Sony’s gaming and TV businesses, will be able to shore up the bottom line as the company anticipates a fourth consecutive year of consolidated net loss.

Some people in the company blame Stringer, 69, for having been unable to pull Sony out of its earnings slump, the sources said.

Hirai has chiefly been engaged in Sony’s software businesses, such as music and gaming. He was promoted to his current post last April after turning around the gaming business following four years of losses.

He is currently overseeing the restructuring of the company’s TV division. Sony announced in late December it has agreed to dissolve its flat-panel TV production venture with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., a move that will allow it to switch to lower cost partners from Taiwan or other areas.

Stringer assumed the chairmanship in 2005, and has concurrently served as president since 2009.

Sony said “nothing has been determined at this time” about its executive officers’ appointments.