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    Stringer steps down, Kaz steps up!

    Just saw on CNN news, Kaz will be the new boss of Sony. Can't wait to see what he can achieve. Super stoked! Was leaving a client and saw it on the office TV. Will adda source when I'm back at work.

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    Offical PR:


    TOKYO, Japan - Sony Corporation (“Sony”) today announced that Kazuo Hirai has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2012. Sir Howard Stringer, currently Chairman, CEO and President, will become Chairman of the Board of Directors in June, 2012.

    Mr. Stringer recommended to the Sony Board of Directors that Mr. Hirai, currently Executive Deputy President, be his successor as President and CEO. Mr. Stringer will continue as Chairman of Sony Corporation until his ascension to the Board Chairmanship, which will become effective upon Board approval following the annual meeting of shareholders in June, when the current Chairman, Yotaro Kobayashi, will retire. Mr. Hirai is also expected to be appointed to the Board at the June shareholders meeting.

    Comment from Sir Howard Stringer

    “Three years ago, I started to work with the Board on succession plans, and in February, 2009 we named a new generation of leaders to be my management team. Among them was Kaz Hirai, who had distinguished himself through his work in the PlayStation ? and networked entertainment businesses. Kaz is a globally focused executive for whom technology and the cloud are familiar territory, content is highly valued, and digital transformation is second nature. I believe his tough-mindedness and leadership skills will be of great benefit to the company and its customers in the months and years ahead. I look forward to helping Kaz in every way I can so that succession leads inevitably to success. It was my honor to recommend him to the Board for the positions of President and CEO, because he is ready to lead, and the time to make this change is now.”

    Comment from Kazuo Hirai

    “As challenging as times are for Sony now, were it not for the strong leadership of Sir Howard Stringer these past seven years, we would have been in a much more difficult position. I am grateful to Sir Howard and to the Board for their confidence in me, and I look forward to working with everyone at Sony more closely than ever before to build a strong future for our customers, shareholders, partners and employees. The path we must take is clear: to drive the growth of our core electronics businesses - primarily digital imaging, smart mobile and game; to turn around the television business; and to accelerate the innovation that enables us to create new business domains. The foundations are now firmly in place for the new management team and me to fully leverage Sony’s diverse electronics product portfolio, in conjunction with our rich entertainment assets and growing array of networked services, to engage with our customers around the world in new and exciting ways.”

    Comment from Yotaro Kobayashi, Chairman of the Board

    “The Board is grateful to Sir Howard Stringer for all he has done to help Sony travel such a long and vital way down the road from an analogue to a digital company. He has clearly recognized the importance of connecting our tremendous products with networks and content so that our devices come fully alive in the hands of consumers. We agree with Sir Howard that Kazuo Hirai is the right man at the right time to lead Sony. He has a unique capacity to inspire people, to build teams, to make the tough decisions, and to think with clarity and foresight about the challenges we face and how to surmount them. We are also pleased that Sir Howard has accepted our request to remain with Sony after June as Chairman of the Board of Directors. His leadership and experience will be of immeasurable assistance to us all.”
    http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Pr...18E/index.html

    Business week article


    Sony Names Hirai as Head to Succeed Stringer Amid TV Losses



    Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., predicting a fourth consecutive year of losses, named Kazuo Hirai as chief executive officer, replacing Howard Stringer after falling behind Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

    Hirai, 51, will take charge of Japan's biggest consumer- electronics exporter on April 1, Sony said today. Stringer, 69, will become chairman of the board after a shareholders meeting in June.

    The promotion of Hirai will test the games chief's ability to integrate the unprofitable TV business and computers with content from its entertainment divisions. After the Walkman dominated portable players in the 1980s, the Tokyo-based company lost to Apple with the iPod, failed to fend off Samsung in TVs and saw Nintendo Co. take the lead in video-game consoles.

    ?Sony won't change, whoever becomes president,? said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees $600 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo. ?Sony chose a foreigner, but that didn't change the company. That proves how difficult it is. Sony has to show what the action plans are to convince investors.?

    The maker of Bravia televisions, Vaio computers and PlayStation game consoles scrapped a projection for a profit and said in November it may have a 90 billion-yen ($1.2 billion) loss in the year to March. Sony, which reports third-quarter earnings tomorrow, hasn't had four consecutive years of losses since it was listed in 1958.

    ?The path we must take is clear -- to drive the growth of our core electronics businesses,? Hirai said in the statement.

    Hirai, with backgrounds in the music and gaming industries, will head a company whose stock slid by more than half since Stringer took the helm in June 2005.

    Sony fell 1.9 percent to 1,364 yen in Tokyo trading today, before the announcement. The stock slumped 53 percent last year, lagging behind a 26 percent jump for Apple and an 11 percent gain for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung.

    ?It was my honor to recommend him to the board for the positions of president and CEO, because he is ready to lead, and the time to make this change is now,? Stringer said in the statement.

    Hirai was one of the top four executives Stringer was grooming and the only one who isn't an engineer by trade.

    TV Losses

    The Japanese company is revamping the main TV business that is forecast to lose money for an eighth consecutive year because of a strengthening yen against the dollar and euro, and competition with Samsung.

    Sony, which exited a display-panel venture with Samsung and bought out partner Ericsson AB's stake in their mobile-phone partnership, has introduced new tablet computers and game consoles to take on Apple and try to revive profit.

    ?Hirai is a gentleman so the market will think he can't execute radical changes,? said Ryosuke Katsura, analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. ?The biggest issue is even if he can turn around the TV business, the market is questioning how much he can do.?

    Hirai was born in Tokyo on Dec. 22, 1960. He grew up in Japan and the U.S., graduating from the International Christian University in Tokyo in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts.

    Cycling, Driving

    After graduation, he joined a joint venture set up in Tokyo by Sony and CBS Inc. The business later became Sony Music Entertainment Inc., Sony's main music unit.

    Hirai is ?loyal on one hand and well-educated in the convergence products, and I think he has a charming personality,? Stringer told reporters in Tokyo last year.

    Hirai, whose hobbies include cycling, driving, as well as collecting cameras, watches, model railroads and telescopes, moved to Sony Computer Entertainment America in 1995 and became president of the U.S. unit in 1999. He was promoted to president of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in 2006, replacing Ken Kutaragi, developer of the PlayStation.

    Sony's rating was cut by Moody's Investors Service last month and Fitch Ratings in December, with both citing the difficulty of turning around the unprofitable TV business. Moody's, which assigned a negative outlook to Sony, also downgraded Panasonic Corp.'s rating.

    Losing Value

    Sony has been hobbled by a stronger yen that reached a postwar high, waning sales, a Japan earthquake that crippled factories and Thailand flooding that cut production. Its November prediction of 90 billion yen in losses in the year ending in March reversed an earlier forecast for a profit of 60 billion yen.

    Sony, worth $100 billion in September 2000, is now valued at $18 billion, compared with Cupertino, California-based Apple at $425 billion.

    The maker of Bravia TVs lowered its annual sales projection to 20 million sets from 22 million and said it was taking a 50 billion-yen charge for streamlining the TV operation.

    The company is countering with plans to write down the value of some facilities, reduce the number of models and cut expenses at its marketing units.

    ?I have unflagging resolve? to turn the TV business around, Hirai said in November. Sony's management ?feels a sense of crisis? about the unit's losses, he said.

    Since 2009, Stringer was grooming four executives as he pushed Sony's divisions to marry hardware products with film, TV, game titles and music from the company's entertainment businesses.

    Stringer replaced division leaders to spur cooperation and cut 30,000 jobs to revive earnings. He traveled frequently between his main office in New York, the company's Tokyo headquarters, the movie division in Los Angeles, and London, where his family lives. He said in 2009 he wanted to remain on the job until Sony completes a business plan in March 2013.
    http://news.businessweek.com/article...C2DFJNJQ1F70DN
    Last edited by mynd; 02-01-2012 at 10:02.

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    I dont think that this change will be significant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybertox View Post
    I dont think that this change will be significant.
    I think it could potentially be very dramatic. Kaz is a vet in the company, is very smart, has $#@! loads of charisma, is Tokyo based (iirc) and speaks Japanese and English. I think he is the head of the comapny that it deserves and I personally believe he will do a lot of good things for Sony. Time will be the real judge however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost-Rhayne View Post
    I think it could potentially be very dramatic. Kaz is a vet in the company, is very smart, has $#@! loads of charisma, is Tokyo based (iirc) and speaks Japanese and English. I think he is the head of the comapny that it deserves and I personally believe he will do a lot of good things for Sony. Time will be the real judge however.
    Yep, I agree. And hopefully Kaz can get Sony to step up their marketing in the US.

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    So, the early rumor was slightly off. Kaz is not only president but also CEO. Stringer retains the Chairman position but that is usually largely symbolic. The language barrier goes away with Kaz and he will at least be living near corporate headquarters in Tokyo. That article also says a new management team has been in formulation for a few months. That probably won't affect SCE management, just the corporate management in Japan. Kaz is a more focused in his views so the strange twists and turns that seem to have been characteristic of Stringer should straighten out. One area Kaz doesn't have much experience with is Sony Pictures so it will be interesting to see what direction he takes that. Stringer was really hit-or-miss there, with some financially successful and critically acclaimed movies but quite a string of exploitative contract comedies that were real duds. Well, hopefully Kaz makes a symbolic appearance at E3, maybe be the one to introduce a new SKU at a lowered price. That would be cool.
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    nice kaz is running it now huh wonder what he'll do

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    I know what Kaz can do with SONY Pictures, make a Uncharted, inFAMOUS and Killzone movie. Do it!

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    Congrats Kaz!

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    Good, $#@! might finally get done.

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    kaz is good but i dont see him turning sony around

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    Hopefully this will make Sony return to being worth 100 billion like in 2000.

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    That blew my mind...going from 100B to 18B? $#@!.

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    The selection of 51-year-old Kazuo Hirai by Sony's board Wednesday ends the reign of Howard Stringer, the boisterous and charismatic Brit who in 2005 became the company's first non-Japanese chief executive and over seven years as boss couldn't turn around Sony's electronics business.

    The leadership change comes at a critical juncture, with Sony's market share squeezed by the manufacturing prowess of Samsung Electronics Co. and the innovations of Apple Inc. The steep ascent of the yen, which rose 30% against the dollar during Mr. Stringer's tenure, has also hobbled profit goals.
    Mr. Hirai, who takes over in April, says he wants to cut costs and shake up the corporate structure that he blames for blocking product innovations and keeping Sony mired in the past. He rose on the corporate ladder with a record of hard-nosed cuts, most notably squeezing profits out of the company's PlayStation game division four years after it reported a $2 billion loss.

    "I thought turning around the PlayStation business was going to be the toughest challenge of my career, but I guess not," he said in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal in January, talking about difficulties in fixing the electronics business. "It's one issue after another. I feel like 'Holy s—, now what?'"

    Born from the ashes of World War II, Sony products embodied technological cool in the decades that followed and established Japan as the center of must-have consumer electronics.

    Today, Sony's stock teeters near two-decade lows. Its credit rating was downgraded last month. And reported losses are expected when Sony releases results Thursday for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending in March.
    Mr. Hirai described his strategic goal as teaching the company's 168,000 employees that past successes in manufacturing must be replaced by selling the harder-to-quantify "user experience." The world has moved on, he said, "We can't just continue to be a great purveyor of hardware products, even though some people expect us to do that."

    His predecessor, the eloquent 69-year-old Mr. Stringer, offered a sweeping vision of harmony between content and the electronics to create experiences available only on Sony products. Mr. Hirai, a videogame veteran, who got his start translating for the Beastie Boys, is considered a pragmatist, a leader who can ask the right questions and make tough decisions.

    "We really need to buckle down and be realistic," said Mr. Hirai, who plans a news conference Thursday. "I don't think everybody is on board, but I think people are coming around to the idea that if we don't turn this around, we could be sitting in some serious trouble."

    Even at a company known for its unconventional choices of leaders, Mr. Hirai's background is unorthodox. He said he joined the company after graduating from college in 1984 because he believed the company offered a "rock 'n' roll" lifestyle that, for example, allowed wearing jeans at work. At ease in both English and Japanese, Mr. Hirai peppers his conversations with equal doses of "dude" and corporate jargon: It is "important to right-size the business."
    As the son of a Japanese banker, Mr. Hirai spent his childhood in the U.S., Canada and Japan. He attended the American School in Japan—a private school largely attended by the children of expatriates—because he worried about fitting in at a traditional Japanese high school. He founded the school's audiovisual club and his hobbies include building model trains and cars—his geek credentials.

    In his first job at CBS/Sony Inc., a now defunct music joint venture between the U.S. network and Sony, he served as a translator for such bands as the Beastie Boys and Journey during their visits to Japan.

    In the mid-1990s, Sony's music and electronics arms huddled to create a rival videogame business to Nintendo Co. and Mr. Hirai was assigned to run the U.S. division after several more experienced executives declined.

    A new era will begin for Sony as the head of the videogames division succeeds Howard Stringer. The WSJ's Deborah Kan speaks to Daisuke Wakabayashi.
    Legions of fans turned PlayStation into a popular and profitable gaming platform when videogame entertainment emerged to rival movies and music. Mr. Hirai took a high profile during Sony's annual appearances at the videogame industry's E3 trade show in Los Angeles, which drew game fans from around the world.

    His prominence also made him a target of rival Microsoft Corp. during an E3 skit in 2004. In a spoof of then-popular reality TV show "The Apprentice," an actor played a frightened Mr. Hirai who sold out his fictional colleagues before Donald Trump fired the Sony team.

    Mr. Hirai got his chance to run the operation in 2006. Ken Kutaragi, the executive credited with starting the PlayStation business, surprised Mr. Stringer in front of the board of directors by revealing the new PlayStation 3 would lose more than $2 billion in its first year. Mr. Kutaragi soon left the company and Mr. Hirai took over with orders to restore profits.

    Mr. Hirai prodded Sony's semiconductor manufacturing partners to slash costs. In one small but symbolic move, he urged designers to swap out the plastic lettering of the PlayStation 3 logo with silk-screened paint, saving money.
    Mr. Hirai also corralled PlayStation employees, who had long reveled in their independence from the main office. He transferred the videogame group from its plush offices in Tokyo's ritzy Aoyama neighborhood to Sony's less glamorous corporate headquarters.

    "He did it in such a way that tempers didn't fray and anxieties didn't multiply. He is someone who can bring people together for common purpose, which is easier when you speak the common language," said Mr. Stringer, who doesn't speak Japanese.

    Based on Mr. Hirai's success with PlayStation, Mr. Stringer promoted him in April 2011 to oversee the consumer-electronics division—still the spiritual soul of Sony. By November, he tackled the difficult TV business.

    Televisions were once the cornerstone of a thriving electronics unit but Sony was late to embrace liquid crystal display models. The decision triggered seven straight years of losses for its TV business. With the company's history so rooted in television sets, executives had been unwilling to take a step backward. But Mr. Hirai declared three months ago that Sony would no longer pursue a long-term goal of selling 40 million television sets a year and told the television group he was cutting their sales goals in half.

    Mr. Hirai said Sony would "build only what he could sell" and televisions would lose 175 billion, about $2.3 billion, in the fiscal year ending in March. The losses would cut by half in the following fiscal year before returning to profits in the year ending March 2014, he said.

    The move upset Sony's global sales teams, because they worried it would anger retailers and hurt the company's ability to sell other electronics. Company managers saw the scaled-down goals could require job cuts.
    To cut costs, Messrs. Stringer and Hirai abandoned an LCD panel-making joint venture with rival Samsung in December. The alliance was formed when panels were hard to procure. But a new glut meant Sony was paying more to buy screens from its own venture than on the open market.

    In another significant shift, Mr. Hirai assumed more control of product planning from Sony's powerful business units. In August, he created a new centralized unit called the Integrated UX, or user experience, and gave it authority over product planning managers for digital cameras, TVs, PlayStation machines, audiovisual products and Vaio computers.

    In the past, the different business groups would map out products independently. As a result, he said, Sony's product portfolio became bloated and disjointed. "We're going to tell you what you are going to make—not the other way around," Mr. Hirai said. "This is a complete sea change."
    Kunimasa Suzuki, who is Mr. Hirai's deputy in overseeing the videogame and consumer-electronics divisions, said before the UX group was formed, they discovered that four different product category groups were working on separate projects for a tablet computer to challenge the iPad.

    The UX group took control of the tablet and assembled a team of engineers. They emphasized such consumer features as the ability to play PlayStation games and browse Web pages faster.

    Sony debuted the Tablet S in late 2011 to solid reviews. But the device has yet to reach significant sales.
    http://online.wsj.com/article_email/...Tabs%3Darticle

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    Very impressive read there ^ Kaz seems to be exactly the right mojo SONY needs to return to their former glory.

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    I'll be following Kaz's dealings with Sony as CEO and president with interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost-Rhayne View Post
    I'll be following Kaz's dealings with Sony as CEO and president with interest.
    If Kaz can turn the company around into it's former glory of 2000, now is the time to buy into their shares.
    The price of shares back then was $150 they are now $19.
    Last edited by mickice; 02-04-2012 at 13:18.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolguy View Post
    kaz is good but i dont see him turning sony around
    well, Stringer wasn't doing a damn thing but drag the company down even more, it certainly wasn't improving. I am sure Kaz won't make it worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdoggy View Post
    well, Stringer wasn't doing a damn thing but drag the company down even more, it certainly wasn't improving. I am sure Kaz won't make it worse.
    Kaz has already proven his ability to turn $#@! around. What he's doing is stripping the fat and only focusing on the core business that can generate them money.

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    Things can turn around quick. Everybody was lamenting the unfortunate collapse of Square-Enix a couple years ago and they are going to report a fairly good revenue and profit this year as well as Namco-Bandai and Konami, although Konami profit was mostly due to their mobile market. This, while Nintendo is going to report the first loss year *EVER*. Sure would be great if Kaz could show up at E3 in some form or another.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost-Rhayne View Post
    I'll be following Kaz's dealings with Sony as CEO and president with interest.
    Yeah, me too.

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