Kazuo Hirai, better known as Kaz Hirai, of Sony PlayStation has been promoted to Deputy Executive President and will take charge of Sony's entire electronics business line as of April next month. Rumours persisted earlier last year, with Sir Howard Stringer said to step down in the near future, with Kaz Hirai and a number of other Sony execs poised to take his place.
In a press meeting with Reuters last night, CEO Howard Stringer said that Hirai is in the lead to become his successor, although he notes that they have yet to make a final decision: "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," Stringer said.
Hirai currently runs Sony's network products and services division, including the games sector, music and movie streaming services, with Sony praising his success: "In his current role, Mr. Hirai has successfully led the turnaround of the games business."
Hirai has been with Sony since joining Sony Computer Entertainment in 1995, having been appointed vice president in July of 2006. Following that, Hirai took over Ken Kutaragi, father of the PlayStation, as president of Sony Computer Entertainment. Hirai was appointed Corporate Executive Officer over Sony's Networked Products and Services Group on April 1, 2009, which comprised of Sony game, mobile and personal computer divisions.