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Sony To Realign Core Businesses; Names Kazuo Hirai Deputy President - Update

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Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. (SNE, SON.L) Wednesday said it is realigning its core electronics and networked service businesses into two key business groups and announced executive appointments to head these groups. All changes are effective April 1.

Howard Stringer, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of the company, will remain with the company, the maker of Bravia televisions and PlayStation consoles said.

The company named Kazuo Hirai, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Vice President, to the post of Representative Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President of the company. He is reportedly tipped to succeed Stringer in the CEO role.

Sony said that under Stringer it would realign its core electronics and networked service operations into two key business groups. Sony's consumer electronics and networked service functions will be under the Consumer Products & Services Group, while B2B, component and semiconductor businesses will form the second group called the "Professional & Device Solutions Group".

Hirai will be responsible for the Consumer Products & Services Group, which will include Sony's consumer electronics businesses as well as the networked service businesses. Hirai will also oversee Sony's horizontal global sales and marketing, and common software platforms, as well as the company's design operations.

Hirai helped with the turnaround of the company's games business in his present capacity. He expanded the PlayStation Network and directed the launch of Sony's new networked service platform. In the new role, Hirai will extend his focus to developing a new generation of compelling products in home and mobile spaces.

The Professional & Device Solutions Group, which includes broadcast and professional products, semiconductors, batteries and other key components, will be led by Hiroshi Yoshioka, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President of the company. Yoshioka will attempt to identify and pursue new business opportunities, such as in the energy and medical fields.

Sony said the changes are intended to facilitate the next phase of the company's transformation into the world's leading provider of networked entertainment and solutions.

Stringer said, "This operational realignment will help accelerate Sony's growth and innovation by strategically focusing on our cross-Company goals and aggressively utilizing our technological strengths, with the goal of providing great entertainment experiences and innovative solutions to customers around the world."

The new structure and executive appointments were approved by Sony's Board of Directors earlier today.

Sony is currently trading in Tokyo at 2,863 yen, down 34 yen or 1.17%, on 1.79 million shares.

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