New Sony CEO pledges comback
51-year-old says he will concentrate on reviving TV sector
When Kazuo Hirai, who at 51 is Sony's youngest chief executive, takes
over in April from Howard Stringer, he has some daunting tasks in order
to bring the company up to speed. Japan's ailing electronics company has
announced that it is heading for a bigger-than-expected $2.9 billion
'We will need to make many painful decisions and execute them, but I believe these are unavoidable for Sony's future.' Kazuo Hira, incoming CEO says.
"Sony must steer a new course," Hirai said, after he was named to the CEO post. Hirai led the company's gaming division earlier in his career.
"We will need to make many painful decisions and execute them, but I believe these are unavoidable for Sony's future."
Sony, whose businesses span from cameras and mobile phones to PlayStation game consoles and films such as "The Smurfs," has been attempting to regain the innovative flair that made it a dominant force in the global electronics industry in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Howard Stringer is expected to step down on April 1, but will retain his post as chairman of Sony until June, after which he will become chairman of the board, a position less involved in daily corporate operations.
"Now more than ever it's time to bring about generational change," Stringer said. "Change is good, it is healthy, and in this hyper-connected world, it is essential.
"Kaz has the right combination of personal qualities, tough-mindedness and leadership skills to lead Sony'."
Stringer has led Sony since 2005. He had begun thinking about his successor in 2009, when he named Hirai and a few other young executives to a new management team.
"Why now? Because he's ready," Stringer said. "We need him in charge as we redouble our efforts of recovery."
Hirai will need to turn around Sony's money-losing TV business, damaged by competition from South Korea's Samsung Electronics Inc., among others.
Hirai also must guide Sony as it faces increasingly intense competition in the gaming sector from Apple Inc's iPod and iPhone and Nintendo Inc's DS handheld.
Sony is hopeful about its new PlayStation Vita set to be released in the US and Europe later this month.
In outlining his goals to revitalize Sony, Hirai is making a concerted commitment to reviving the TV business, strengthening the company's cell phone business, spurring innovation and pushing into the field of medical technology.
"At home, the TV plays a central role," Hirai said. "Various products can be enjoyed on TV, so it is strategically important, and we cannot withdraw from this business."
Natural disasters at home, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which disrupted production, and flooding in Thailand, where two of Sony's factories had to be shut down, also took a toll on the company's business over the past year.
"There is no question 2011 was one of the most trying periods in Sony history," Stringer said.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Sony, Japan, CEO, loss
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