Hirai has been CEO since 2012, replacing Howard Stringer. He was credited with turning around lagging fortunes at the company, implementing his “One Sony” program. During Hirai’s six-year stint, the electronics and entertainment company has exited the PC and TV market and gotten into the smartphone market with its image sensors.
Yoshida’s appointment will likely be welcomed by investors, as he has been widely credited as being the driver of many of the changes. Sony is forecasting record profit for the year through March. Yoshida is currently the Director, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, Executive Deputy President and Chief Financial Officer. He has now been appointed as Director, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2018.
A Sony statement indicated the management transition was proposed by Hirai to the Sony Nominating Committee and was approved by the Sony Board of Directors at a meeting held earlier today. Sony said it will “embark on its next mid-range corporate plan starting April 1 2018, under a new management structure led by Mr. Yoshida.”
“Ever since my appointment as President and CEO in April 2012, I have stated that my mission is to ensure Sony continues to be a company that provides customers with kando – to move them emotionally – and inspires and fulfills their curiosity,” said a Hirai statement. “To this end, I have dedicated myself to transforming the company and enhancing its profitability, and am very proud that now, in the third and final year of our current mid-range corporate plan, we are expecting to exceed our financial targets. And it excites me to hear more and more people enthuse that Sony is back again.”
Hirai said Yoshida “supported me closely” since returning to Sony in December 2013. “I believe he possesses the breadth of experience and perspective, as well as the unwavering leadership qualities required to manage Sony’s diverse array of businesses, and as such is the ideal person to drive the company forward into the future.”