Kaz Hirai to inherit Sony from Stringer?

PlayStation boss' promotion a "first step".

When Sony CEO Howard Stringer steps down - something he's expected to do in 2013 - PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai may fill his shoes.

In a "first step" towards naming his successor, Stringer has promoted Hirai to lead the bigger half of the company's two businesses: consumer products. His competition for the CEO role, Hiroshi Yoshioka, runs the other half, which covers stuff like semiconductors, batteries and other components.

"The board and I have talked about succession planning and this is the first step. We have not made a final decision," said Stringer at a conference reported by Reuters.

"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."

Hirai will become executive deputy president of Sony on 1st April. He was promoted to boss of Sony Computer Entertainment from his previous position as head of Sony America in 2006.

"In his current role, Mr. Hirai has successfully led the turnaround of the games business," declared a Sony statement.

Perky PlayStation profits have been offset by tumbling telly totals of late, but Sony has much to do to catch companies like Apple and Nintendo.

The Reuters report says Hirai is known for his fluent English and presentation skills, which we "Riiiiiiiiiiidge Racer" know well.

Hirai's infamous 'Ridge Racer' performance at E3 2006, also known as the PS3 conference.

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