Hirai heads up Sony consumer business

Sony’s networked products and services boss Kaz Hirai has been promoted to head up the consumer products unit.

50-year-old Hirai currently looks after video games and other digital Sony businesses such as music and movie steaming. His new role will include the entire Sony consumer electronics line which consists of TVs, cameras and more.

Hirai’s new position – executive deputy president – will take effect from Friday, April 1st, Reuters reports.

The new role will allow Sony to assess Hirai as a potential successor to its current CEO Howard Stringer, who is expected to step down in 2013.

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

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.”

Sony also said it is realigning its business into two groups – one for consumer products and services – led by Hirai. The other will be taken charge by Hiroshi Yoshioka, which will look after business-to-business products such as batteries, semiconductors and other key components.

Operating profit more than doubled in the network products and services division between October and December.

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