Sony's Kaz Hirai consolidates power as likely CEO successor to Howard Stringer

Sony's in the midst of yet another realignment this morning. Most notable is the promotion of Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai to Representative Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President, effective as of April 1st. The change in title also carries new responsibilities for Sony's Consumer Products & Services Group putting Kaz in charge of all of Sony's consumer electronics businesses including TV, audio / video, imaging, PC, gaming, and mobile in addition to overseeing Sony's global sales and marketing, common software platforms, and design operations. The move makes Kaz the number one candidate to replace Howard Stringer, the 69 year old boss from Wales, who is expected to step down in 2013.

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Sony Corporation Announces Executive Appointments and Realignment of Key Businesses

Tokyo, March 10, 2011 - Sony Corporation ("Sony" or the "Company") today announced executive appointments and realignment of its core electronics and networked service businesses effective April 1, 2011. These changes are intended to facilitate the next phase of Sony's transformation into the world's leading provider of networked entertainment and solutions.

Sir Howard Stringer, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Sony Corporation, has extended his commitment to lead the Company through the next stage in its transformation. Under Mr. Stringer, Sony will realign its core electronics and networked service operations into two key business groups. After the realignment, all of Sony's consumer electronics and networked service functions will reside in one group, named the "Consumer Products & Services Group", and the growing B2B, component and semiconductor businesses will form the second group, the "Professional & Device Solutions Group".

Kazuo Hirai, currently Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Vice President, will be named Representative Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation, and will be responsible for the Consumer Products & Services Group, which will include all of Sony's consumer electronics businesses -- including TV, Home Video, Home Audio, Digital Imaging, PC, Game and Mobile products -- as well as the networked service businesses. Mr. Hirai will also oversee Sony's horizontal global sales and marketing, and common software platforms, as well as the Company's design operations. These are all core functions that primarily support the Company's consumer products and service businesses. In his current role, Mr. Hirai has successfully led the turnaround of the games business, expanded the PlayStation®Network - which now boasts more than 74 million registered accounts worldwide (as of March 9, 2011) -- and directed the launch of Sony's new networked service platform. In his expanded role, Mr. Hirai will extend his focus to developing a new generation of compelling products, through which Sony plans to deliver seamless and compelling entertainment experiences to consumers in both the home and mobile spaces.

The Professional & Device Solutions Group, which includes broadcast and professional products, semiconductors, batteries and other key components, will be led by Hiroshi Yoshioka, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. Mr. Yoshioka will also utilize his engineering expertise and experience to further leverage Sony's competitive advantages in cutting-edge technologies and core devices to identify and pursue new business opportunities, such as in the energy and medical fields.

"I am excited to lead the Company through the next phase in its transformation," said Mr. Stringer. "This operational realignment will help accelerate Sony's growth and innovation by strategically focusing on our cross-Company goals and aggressively utilizing our technological strengths, with the goal of providing great entertainment experiences and innovative solutions to customers around the world. The new responsibilities of Kazuo Hirai and Hiroshi Yoshioka will enable us to concentrate on and, as appropriate, quickly shift resources to, areas where they will have the greatest impact on our overall business. The transformation we began two years ago is progressing very well. The strength of our core products and technologies is growing, and our networked strategy is now a reality. These initiatives, in tandem with our extensive content portfolio, will be the primary drivers of Sony's continued growth and success."

The new structure and executive appointments were formally approved by Sony's Board of Directors at a meeting of the Board held earlier today. "Sony is now entering the second phase of its transformation towards new development and growth, under the leadership of Mr. Stringer. Sony's Board of Directors is pleased that Mr. Stringer has accepted our request to continue his leadership of the Company as Chairman, CEO and President, and we will fully support him and his newly configured senior management team" said Yotaro Kobayashi, Chairman of the Board, Sony Corporation.

In recent years, Sony has made significant progress in strategically integrating its hardware, content and networked services, while also establishing horizontal platforms to streamline and optimize Sony's operations in areas such as manufacturing, supply chain management, sales and marketing, and software design. The Company has considerably improved its competitiveness and profitability.

This new organizational and management structure is intended to enable Mr. Stringer to continue to implement his Group-wide strategic vision, while also empowering the next generation of Sony's management to focus on current operations as well as long-term growth and development of the Company's core businesses.