Hirai moves closer to top role at Sony

 
Steve Dinneen
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Kazuo Hirai looks set to realise his ambition of taking control of iconic Japanese giant Sony when chief executive Howard Stringer steps aside after being promoted to second in charge.

The former head of the firm’s gaming division will now oversee the entire consumer division, which makes up the bulk of Sony’s seven trillion yen (£53bn) sales.

Hirai, 50, currently runs the firm’s network products and services division, which includes Sony’s games business as well as newer ventures such as music and movie streaming services.

He is a fluent English speaker known for his presentation skills, which were on display at the unveiling of Sony’s new handheld games device in a Tokyo ceremony in January.

Stringer, who serves as Sony chairman, chief executive and president, said he would retain his current positions, for the financial year starting in April.

The Sony boss, formerly an Emmy-award winning TV journalist, was brought in as chairman and chief executive in 2005, and added the role of president in 2009.

In January he denied he was a candidate for the chairmanship of the BBC.