Sir Howard Stringer is to step down as Sony CEO and president on 1 April.

Sony has appointed Kazuo Hirai, currently executive deputy president, to replace Stringer.

In a statement released today, Stringer said the decision was the result of succession plans that began three years ago.

"Kaz is a globally focused executive for whom technology and the cloud are familiar territory, content is highly valued, and digital transformation is second nature," Stringer said. "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."

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