Howard Stringer has been replaced as chief executive and president of Sony by Kazuo Hirai, head of consumer products.
In a planned move, Stringer will step down as chief executive and president, and limit his role to chairman of the board.
Stringer has been chairman and chief executive of Sony since 2005 and president since 2009. His new move will take effect from April 1.
Stringer said in a statement: "Three years ago, I started to work with the board on succession plans, and in February 2009 we named a new generation of leaders to be my management team. Among them was Kaz Hirai, who had distinguished himself through his work in the PlayStation and networked entertainment businesses. 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."
Hirai said: "The path we must take is clear: to drive the growth of our core electronics businesses - primarily digital imaging, smart mobile and game; to turn around the television business; and to accelerate the innovation that enables us to create new business domains.”
Together Stringer and Hirai have engineered the release of several high profile Sony products, including the PS3, Playstation Move motion controller, the new Playstation Vita and the Sony 3D Handycam projector.
Yotaro Kobayashi, the current chairman of the board, said in a statement: "We agree with Sir Howard that Kazuo Hirai is the right man at the right time to lead Sony. He has a unique capacity to inspire people, to build teams, to make the tough decisions, and to think with clarity and foresight about the challenges we face and how to surmount them."
Pre-order Sony Playstation Vita at £219 from Amazon for 22 February delivery.
Kazuo Hirai, Sony CEO
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Japan's electronics giant Sony vice president and Sony Computer Entertainment president Kazuo Hirai claps his hands in Tokyo on April 26, 2011.