File image: Executive Officer of Sony, Kazuo Hirai. Reuters.

CAPE TOWN - Japanese multinational magnate, Sony announced on Friday that its current CEO, Kazuo Hirai will be stepping down as CEO, making way for CFO Kenichiro Yoshida to take over. 

This will see Hirai end his six-year reign as Sony CEO at the end of March this year.  Yoshida will then be taking over at the start of the next financial year. 

The CFO is recognised for his contribution to Sony and turning around its finances throughout much of Hirai’s tenure. Hirai will assume the role of chairman while Yoshida’s CFO role will go to mobile head and chief strategy officer, Hiroki Totoki.

Hirai and Yoshida worked closely on restructuring the corporation after several years of losses. 

This move saw the company cutting back on businesses like the VAIO PC division and focusing on growth areas like PlayStation. 

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Meanwhile, the company later reported a nearly four-fold jump in third-quarter operating profit on growing demand for its image sensors, and raised its full-year earnings outlook.

The electronics firm posted an operating profit of 350.8 billion yen for the October-December quarter, up from 92.4 billion yen a year ago. That was Sony’s highest third-quarter profit ever and far above a consensus estimate of 240.8 billion yen from 10 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sony raised its profit forecast for the year ending March to 720 billion yen from 630 billion yen, its best ever in its 72-year-old history.

That compared with a consensus estimate of 680.93 billion yen from 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE