After a bout of he said / she said earlier this year over the possibility of executive deputy prez Kazuo Hirai becoming president and CEO of Sony Corp., Sony has decided to make the news official this morning. As of April 1, 2012, Kaz will step up to the job of current CEO Sir Howard Stringer, effectively kicking off two months of vacation for Stringer before he becomes chairman of the board of directors in June 2012.
"I look forward to helping Kaz in every way I can so that succession leads inevitably to success," Stringer said in the announcement press release. Kaz was ready with the back patting as well, as he said, "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." Hirai is known for having lead Sony Computer Entertainment through its most successful years, as well as being the guy who says "Riiiiiiiidge Racer!" really enthusiastically.
Stringer's appointment to the board of directors in June awaits final approval during the annual shareholders meeting in June. If confirmed, he will replace retiring chairman Yotaro Kobayashi, though he will in no way match Kobayashi's totally sweet name.