Kazuo Hirai with PS Vita

Sony has announced that its former president of the Consumer Products & Services Group, Kazuo Hirai, will become president and chief executive officer of the Japanese company from April 1. His predecessor, Howard Stringer, will step down to become chairman of the board after a shareholders meeting in June.

Sony made the announcement in a statement issued to Bloomberg this morning, and it is expected to provide more details on its internal changes this Thursday, February 2. The company hopes that its executive reshuffle will drive the growth of its core electronics business, which has fallen behind to the likes of Apple and Samsung in recent years.

Hirai, 51, has been pivotal to Sony's success with the PlayStation, and was named president of Sony Computer Entertainment two weeks after the PlayStation 3 was launched in November, 2006. But his new role will undoubtedly be his biggest challenge yet, as Bloomberg notes:

The promotion of Hirai will test the games chief's ability to integrate the unprofitable TV business and computers with content from its entertainment divisions. After the Walkman dominated portable players in the 1980s, the Tokyo-based company lost to Apple with the iPod, failed to fend off Samsung in TVs and saw Nintendo Co. (7974) take the lead in video-game consoles.

Sony's entertainment business has been struggling recently, with both its televisions and handheld consoles operating at a loss. But Hirai revealed back in November that he has "unflagging resolve" to turn the TV business around, with Sony's management feeling "a sense of crisis" about the business.

Do you think Sony's decision to name Kazuo Harai is a good one?

[via The Next Web]