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Sony CEO Hirai to Lead User Experience, Product Platform

Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai
Sony Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai is taking over the product strategy division as stalling demand for televisions and smartphones leads the Japanese company toward its sixth loss in seven years. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai is taking over the product strategy division as stalling demand for televisions and smartphones leads the Japanese company toward its sixth loss in seven years.

Hirai will lead a new user experience platform overseeing strategy, sales and marketing, Tokyo-based Sony said in a statement today.

The chief executive is taking direct responsibility for how Sony products are developed and used by customers as he tries to revive flagging consumer electronics operations that underpinned its rise into a global icon. While the success of the PlayStation 4 console is boosting Sony’s game business, a division Hirai led before becoming CEO, the company has cut sales forecasts for smartphones and TVs.

When Hirai took charge in 2012, he said Sony’s revival would be driven by games, imaging products and mobile devices, and he has pledged to make TV manufacturing profitable.

Sony last month posted a surprise first-quarter profit as the PS4 topped console sales and its Hollywood studio rebounded with the latest installment of the “Amazing Spider-Man.”

Despite the quarterly profit, Sony projects its sixth annual loss in seven years and Hirai cut the company’s net-income three times in the last financial year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Grace Huang in Tokyo at xhuang66@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net Robert Fenner

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