In a move that further sets up Kazuo Hirai as the heir apparent at Sony (NYSE: SNE), the company has promoted him to president, taking that title away from Howard Stringer but keeping Stringer in place as CEO and chairman of the board, according to a report.
Nikkei reported (a rough Google (NSDQ: GOOG) translation is here) that Hirai, famous for his oversight of Sony’s Playstation business, will take on a much broader role as Sony struggles to develop a more coordinated approach across its sprawling number of businesses. Stringer was given the title of president back in 2009 in hopes he could pull off that feat, but Sony remains a complicated place of fiefdoms and power struggles.
This succession plan has seemed pretty likely ever since Hirai was given a new title earlier this year overseeing both Sony’s consumer electronics division as well as his longtime association with the Playstation group. Stringer has been expected by many Sony watchers to step down at some point in 2012, and as we noted in our CEO roundup from 2011, he’s definitely been under quite a bit of pressure to turn Sony into something along the lines of Apple.