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Sony Denies Exec Reshuffle

Responding to reports that Kaz Hirai has been promoted to president of Sony, a Sony spokesman tells B&C that the board has made no such decision.

The initial report from the respected Japanese Nikkei Business Daily noted that Hirai would be promoted to president, putting him in line as the most likely successor to Sir. Howard Stringer. Stringer would have given up the president title but would have retained his title of chairman and CEO, the paper reported.

Ongoing speculation about Springer's successor prompted some reports to note that Springer was out, which the Sony spokesman stressed was completely incorrect.

Stringer had been chair and CEO of the company but added the president title in 2009 during the economic crisis and the move was not seen as permanent.

Bloomberg reported last November that whoever took the president title would be seen as a likely successor and that Hirai, who heads up Sony's very successful games division, has been repeatedly pegged as one of several likely candidates.

Taking the president title would reduce Stringer's workload and allow the executive to prove his ability to run the company.

Last November Bloomberg noted that "Hirai started his career at a joint venture between Sony and CBS, now called Sony Music Entertainment Inc., in 1984. He was named president of Sony's U.S. game unit in 1999. The executive, fluent in Japanese and English, was brought up in the U.S. and Japan."

Stringer said last fall that he was planning to remain on the job for the next three years though it is likely that Sony would formalize succession plans long before that.