Sony CEO Stringer seeks new president as deputy

Sony is looking to revive its fortunes by considering options for a new president who could help fill the role of chairman and chief executive officer Howard Stringer.

According to people familiar with the matter, Stringer would intend to continue his role as chairman and CEO with the person appointed acting as his deputy.  The appointee will be expected to assist with the work and travel load of Stringer, who turns 69 in February, offering the chance to prove their ability at the top level.

Stringer began in the role of president in April last year having taken over from Ryoji Chubachi, and could look to appoint either current employees Kazuo Hirai or Hiroshi Yoshioka, according to sources who wish to remain anonymous as talks are still ongoing.

It is thought the choice of president may signal a move into increased emphasis on electronics after years of moving into the media market as Sony finds itself up against Apple with portable media devices.

In fact since Stringer himself took over Sony back in, Japan’s largest exporter of consumer electronics has seen its stock fall by 25 percent, which is double the drop by Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average according to the Taipei Times.

Stringer replaced division leaders to spur cooperation and cut 30,000 jobs to revive earnings. Sony has been trying to boost sales by promoting 3D products and being first in offering Internet-oriented TVs that run on Google software and Intel chips.

The company raised its full-year net income forecast last month after improved results in the unit that produces Vaio computers, Walkman and PlayStation products.

Now it seems Stringer could be looking towards to high-flying employees to assist in ushering in a new era for the firm. Hirai and Yoshioka are known as two of the company’s Four Musketeers, four executives who have been groomed with the intention of increasing Sony’s focus of combining hardware products with film, TV, game titles and music from the entertainment business.  It is noted that all of the Musketeers are engineers from Hirai.  Which one is Athos, Porthos and Aramis is as yet undisclosed.

Hirai, who spearheads the games business, started his career back in 1984 at joint venture between Sony and CBS, now called Sony Music Entertainment.  He was appointed president of the game unit in the US in 1999, and speaks fluent Japanese and English having been brought up in Japan and the US.