Howard Stringer is out as Sony CEO

After holding the title of chairman and CEO of Sony for nearly seven years, Howard Stringer will vacate the post as the company tries to restructure and better compete against Apple and others.

Sir Howard Stringer, one of an extraordinarily rare class of technology executives to have been granted knighthood by the Queen of England, has been with Sony since 1997 and was elevated to CEO in 2005. Prior to that he was with CBS for 19 years.

Stringer’s focus when he was given the top title at the multi-billion-dollar corporation was to come up with strategies to compete against Apple, Samsung, Panasonic, and others that had stepped into consumer electronics territories that Sony once dominated.

However, Stringer was unable to stay fresh and relevant, leaving Sony to decline in market share in categories like computers and TVs. Under Stringer’s leadership, other sections of Sony, like Sony Pictures, did improve, but the company has decided it’s time for a new face.

Replacing Stringer will be Kaz Hirai, who in recent years has actually become a more visible personality within Sony’s executive team. Hirai is best known for his work in Sony’s Playstation division, and is currently executive deputy president at Sony.

Stringer will remain as chairman of the board at Sony. In a statement, he said, “Kaz is a globally focused executive. I believe his tough-mindedness and leadership skills will be of great benefit to the company and its customers in the months and years ahead. I look forward to helping Kaz in every way I can so that succession leads inevitably to success.”