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Sir Howard Now Mr. President

Sony has added the role of electronics president to the responsibilities of its CEO Howard Stringer, expanding his control over the electronics business in the face of a worsening economic outlook.

Stringer will take over the added responsibilities from Ryoji Chubachi, 61, who is stepping down April 1. He will remain with the company as vice chairman of Sony’s board to oversee quality and ecological initiatives.

According to reports out of Japan, Stringer used a press conference at Sony’s Tokyo headquarters to announce the change and to introduce a four-man management team that has been charged with bringing together the electronics operation’s different business segments in an effort to correct the electronics group’s worsening sales and financial performance, after losing ground to such rivals as Apple and Samsung.

The executives, who Stringer dubbed the “four Musketeers,” include Kazuo Hirai, head of Sony Computer Entertainment, who will oversee a new Internet-linking products and services group with Kunimasa Suzuki, who formerly led Sony Electronics in the U.S. Hiroshi Yoshioka, who heads Sony’s TV operations, and Yoshihisa Ishida, president of the Vaio computer group, will lead a new consumer products group that will merge Sony’s TV, digital imaging, home audio and video businesses.