Stringer makes key promotions in Sony reorg

Sony will reorganize its operations and shuffle executives on April 1 in a series of moves that maintains Howard Stringer's leadership and positions two executives to potentially succeed him one day as chairman of the electronics giant.

Stringer has "extended his commitment to lead the Company through the next stage in its transformation," Sony said in a statement. He plans to reorganize Sony's core electronics operations into two main divisions from April 1, with two key members of his executive team leading the units.

Stringer became chairman and CEO of Sony in 2005, a time when its core electronics business was struggling. He has said in the past he would leave the company when its turnaround was complete. With that in mind, any clues as to the identity of his successor have been keenly watched.

Kazuo Hirai, the head of Sony's networked services unit, will lead a new consumer products and services group that will include all of Sony's consumer electronics, personal computer and gaming operations.

"In his current role, Mr. Hirai has successfully led the turnaround of the games business, expanded the PlayStation Network, and directed the launch of Sony's new networked service platform," Sony said. "In his expanded role, Mr. Hirai will extend his focus to developing a new generation of compelling products, through which Sony plans to deliver seamless and compelling entertainment experiences to consumers in both the home and mobile spaces."

The remainder of Sony's electronics operations, which consists largely of semiconductors, batteries, image sensors and products for the broadcasting industry, will be led by Hiroshi Yoshioka. Yoshioka currently runs Sony's consumer electronics, professional solutions and devices business.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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