Sir Howard Stringer will expand role at Sony

Chairman, CEO and now president: Howard Stringer's role at Sony is expanding in the wake of the firm's unprecedented recent losses. Ryoji Chubachi, who oversees the electronics division, will step down from the president's role, staying on as vice-chairman of the board. The changes will take effect April 1.

The electronics division was ground zero of the bomb that was Sony's most recent earnings report. This quarter's not looking any brighter. For the quarter ending in March, the company now expects to report a loss of $1.53 billion, compared to earnings of $3.77 billion during the same quarter last year. (One widely quoted analyst, Yuuki Sakurai, suggested that the UK-born Stringer was moved into the driver's seat precisely because the situation's tough -- and will require someone with "non-Japanese loyalties" to make tough restructuring and cut decisions. Let the gaijin do it!)

Elsewhere at Sony, Kazuo Hirai, current head of the videogames unit, will now oversee a business group that will combine the company's personal-computing, videogame, and mobile-electronics efforts into the Networked Products & Services Group. Bravia LCD TVs, the Cybershot camera line, and assorted audio and video gear will fall into the new Consumer Products Group, to be helmed by Hiroshi Yoshioka, currently running the TV group.

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