Sony's Kazuo Hirai will take over as CEO from Howard Stringer come April, the company announced Wednesday. Now head of Sony's consumer products division, 51 year old Hirai is credited with leading a turnaround in Sony's PlayStation business after taking over just after the launch of the PS3.
But he'll face a number of problems as the company's leader.
Hirai hopes turning the focus towards TV will quickly return the company to profitability. The turnaround plan includes focusing on profits over the number of sets it sells and manufacturing fewer in-house LCD panels. While Hirai focuses on making TVs profitable, some analysts question whether the company should invest its resources in areas that hold industry superiority, such as digital imaging.
But Hirai is determined to compete in the television industry, which he calls a “fundamental platform” and an integral part in the new digital market. He also said he will continue Stringer’s efforts to leverage Sony’s consumer electronics and PlayStation consoles with its broad media holdings, a venture that is certainly in Hirai’s comfort zone. Howard Stringer will remain the company's chairman.