Kaz Hirai becomes Sony president on April 1

By Andrew Yoon, Feb 01, 2012 6:30am PST

As expected, Kazuo "Ridge Racer" Hirai will be taking over the job as president and CEO of Sony. Effective April 1st, Hirai will take the company's top position after nearly 30 years of working at Sony.

Hirai joined the company in 1984 as part of the music group. However, his rise to fame happened once he transferred to Sony Computer Entertainment in 1995. Called "instrumental" in launching the PS2, PSP, and PS3, Hirai has a long legacy of managing successful PlayStation products.

On April 1st, Hirai will become president and CEO of Sony, replacing Sir Howard Stringer. His challenge as the company's new leader will be to turn around the "unprofitable TV business and computers" business, according to Bloomberg. Hirai is largely credited for turning around an unprofitable PlayStation division, when it was originally run by Ken Kutaragi.

The growth of the PlayStation Network (and the Sony Entertainment Network) will be key to the company's future. "His experience in building the PlayStation Network, which despite an embarrassing hacking scandal last year still has 90 million registered account users, offers a template for how Sony wants to be more than a manufacturer of stand-alone devices," the Wall Street Journal commented.

"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," Hirai said in the announcement. "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."

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