Ridge Racer fan/PlayStation exec Kaz Hirai to be next president of Sony

Media and electronics giant Sony had an eventful 2011 to be sure. It had the launch of a new handheld, huge PS3 releases like Uncharted 3, the massive hack of PSN, and travails in the company’s other division all lead to a crummy year with big losses (opens in new tab). Perhaps all this is what’s leading to management shake-ups that will include a promotion for Kazuo “Riiidge Racer” Hirai.

According to Japanese publication Nikkei (via The Verge) (opens in new tab), Sony will name Hirai company president next month, with him assuming the responsibilities in April. This move follows the company’s current head Howard Stringer (Sony’s first non-Japanese CEO) being faced with some shareholders calling for his resignation (opens in new tab) as well as other managerial reshufflings (opens in new tab). However, when Kaz takes over as Sony’s president, Stringer will still hold on to his influential position as CEO.

How will this impact gamers? Hirai’s actual plans with regards to Sony will no doubt take months to be materialize, we just hope Kaz still finds time in June to make an appearance at E3 in less than six months. Whether announcing the name of a new system, sharing bar graphs, or mocking his pronunciation of Ridge Racer, Kaz has become as much an institution of E3 as Reggie kicking ass and awkward families demoing Kinect.

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