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Sony’s Stringer steps down as president, CEO

TOKYO, Feb 1 – Howard Stringer, the Welsh-born American head of Japanese games, music and electronics giant Sony, is to step down as the firm’s president and CEO, the company said Wednesday.

He will be succeeded by Kazuo Hirai, a games and music veteran at the company, who will take over as president and CEO in April, a statement said, while Stringer will become chairman of the board of directors in June.

“I look forward to helping Kaz in every way I can so that succession leads inevitably to success,” said Stringer. “He is ready to lead, and the time to make this change is now.”

Hirai, 51, played a major role in developing the PlayStation in the 1990s and has spent most of his career at Sony in videogames, movies, music and other software businesses.

“As challenging as times are for Sony now, were it not for the strong leadership of Sir Howard Stringer these past seven years, we would have been in a much more difficult position,” he said.

The Tokyo-based maker of PlayStation consoles and Bravia television sets is projecting an annual net loss of 90 billion yen ($1.2 billion), its fourth consecutive year in the red, as it reels from the impact of a strong yen, weak sales and severe flooding in Thailand.

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