Ken Kutaragi, the so-called “father of the PlayStation”, has announced that he is to step down from the Sony board of directors, and will return to taking sole charge of the company’s games division.
The board of directors is subsequently meeting to vote on the election of British business executive Sir Howard Stringer as the company’s new CEO and chairman of the board. The final decision will come after a shareholder vote in June.
If successful, Stringer would succeed Nobuyuki Idei as the first non-Japanese chairman of he company. His potential appointment is something of a surprise, as either Kutaragi or current number two Kunitake Ando were previously seen as the most likely candidates for the job. It is now expected that Ando will also step down and be replaced by executive deputy president Ryoji Chubachi.
The company, which is undergoing a difficult period in its history, as it combats increased competition from Korean and Chinese rivals and losses in most of its non-games divisions, is hoping that Stringer’s appointment will lead to more co-operation between departments. Competition and a lack of communication between divisions has long been cited as one of the main reasons for the company’s recent problems, arguably exemplified by the poor performance of the PSX series of multimedia devices.
Stringer is expected to emphasis co-operation, in particular, between the company’s music and movie divisions and its range of electronics equipment.