The Business On... Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony


Isn't that rather a grand title?

It's a new one too. Mr Hirai, whocurrently runs Sony's video games business – the world of PlayStation in other words – got a big promotion yesterday and now looks a shoo-in for the top job at the company.



Who's in charge now?

That would be Sir Howard Stringer, the Welshman to whom Sony handed the reins five years ago. Sir Howard, now 69, isn't ready to go just yet, but does want to get a succession plan in place. Yesterday's upgrade for Mr Hirai appears to be that plan.



Tell us about him.

Well, aged 50, Mr Hirai has been at Sony his entire working life, though he started out in its music business. A couple of years back, Sir Howardsingled out a quartet of Sony executives as possible successors. Mr Hirai was one of that group, whom the boss dubbed "the four musketeers".



What does he bring to the party?

Loyalty and technical knowhow. Mr Hirai spent years working for Ken Kutaragai, thought of as the creator of PlayStation, and in recent years has turned the video games business into one of Sony's biggest profitcentres. He spotted the potential for PlayStation in an internet-connected world and has exploited that.



Still, this sounds like Sonyturning inwards.

Not really. Sir Howard's tenure at Sony is always quoted as a rare example of a Westerner leading a Japanese business. But Mr Hirai has always been an internationalist, has spent long periods abroad and speaks English fluently. He's more than happy to make big public presentations in his second language.



So when will he get the big job?

In public at least, Sir Howard won't say how long he plans to stay on Sony. He's also said Mr Hirai's new job is effectively an audition.



What does he have to do to pass?

Sony is merging its video game and consumer electronics business under Mr Hirai's leadership. The latter has not performed well — the TV manufacturing business, for example, loses money – and Mr Hirai has to turn things around.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor