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Friday 14 December 2018

Sony names Kenichiro Yoshida as new president

He will replace Kazuo Hirai, who led a turnaround at the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant and will stay on as chairman.

New Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida warned the booming company against complacency (AP)
New Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida warned the booming company against complacency (AP)

By Yuri Kageyama

Electronics and entertainment giant Sony has named Kenichiro Yoshida as its new president and CEO.

The chief financial officer will replace Kazuo Hirai, who led a turnaround at the Japanese company and will stay on as chairman.

Mr Yoshida has experience in Sony’s US operations, as well as its network, financial and investor relations businesses. Mr Yoshida and Mr Hirai shook hands, appearing together before reporters at the firm’s Tokyo headquarters.

Mr Hirai stressed Mr Yoshida will continue to follow his path, as Sony prepares to record its best results in two decades this fiscal year. Both said management must not grow complacent, however.

When asked why Mr Yoshida was chosen, Mr Hirai said: “His way of thinking on what Sony must do is similar to mine.”

Sony’s board members said they were surprised Mr Hirai wanted to step down. However, Mr Hirai said he decided the timing was right to “pass the baton” to the next leadership, although the choice appeared to indicate the company’s determination to stay on track, rather than shift too quickly to a younger generation of leadership. Mr Yoshida, at 58, is one year older than Hirai.

Hirai became president and CEO in 2012, taking over from Howard Stringer, an American. He turned around an embattled Sony, which had sunk into losses as its once-prized TV business lost out to rivals such as Samsung of South Korea.

Sony is now heading for booming profits, outpacing company targets, as its sensors are in demand for mobile devices made by rivals, including Apple.

Press Association

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