Sony announced today that it has promoted Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai to head up the company's biggest division, the consumer products unit.
that Hirai's new position puts him firmly in line to take over from chief executive and president Howard Stringer, who is expected to step down in 2013.
Stringer said of the promotion, "The board and I have talked about succession planning and this is the first step."
However, he was quick to stress, "We have not made a final decision. This is an opportunity for the board to watch Hirai san and judge his performance. There may be other candidates, but he has a leadership position."
Sony said in a statement, "In his current role, Mr. Hirai has successfully led the turnaround of the games business."
The company also announced that it is to realign its business into two core groups. The first, led by Hirai, will cover consumer products and services, accounting for 60 percent of the company's turnover.
The other will cover business to business areas such as semiconductors, batteries and other key components, will be led by Hiroshi Yoshioka.
Stringer noted, "Yoshioka san has an opportunity to make a lot of money in his group, so the race isn't over."