Former PlayStation Boss and Sony CEO Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai has officially announced that he is stepping down from the position he has held since 2012, marking yet another huge shift at command central over at Team Central.
With Andrew House, the Sony Interactive Entertainment president, leaving not too long before, and Jim Ryan taking on temporary leadership - Seeing Kaz make his departure is more than a little surprising, especially with all of the work he has given to PlayStation through the years.
But don't worry, PlayStation fans; he isn't leaving the company for good. In fact, come April 1st of this year, Hirai will be moving into a chairman role instead. Come April, he will be the chairman of Sony alongside Kenichiro Yoshido as Yoshido takes on the role of president and new CEO. Hiroki Totoki, the current mobile and chief strategy officer, is in place to take over as the powerhouse's CFO (chief financial officer).
Both Kazuo Hirai and Kenichiro Yoshida have released statements regarding the shift in leadership:
“Ever since my appointment as President and CEO in April 2012, I have stated that my mission is to ensure Sony continues to be a company that provides customers with kando – to move them emotionally – and inspires and fulfills their curiosity. To this end, I have dedicated myself to transforming the company and enhancing its profitability, and am very proud that now, in the third and final year of our current mid-range corporate plan, we are expecting to exceed our financial targets. And it excites me to hear more and more people enthuse that Sony is back again. As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life. My successor, Kenichiro Yoshida, has supported me closely since returning to Sony in December 2013 , contributing extensively beyond his remit as CFO and acting as valuable confidant and business partner, as we took on the challenge of transforming Sony together. Mr. Yoshida combines a deeply strategic mindset with a relentless determination to achieve defined targets, and the ability to take a global viewpoint. I believe he possesses the breadth of experience and perspective, as well as the unwavering leadership qualities required to manage Sony’s diverse array of businesses, and as such is the ideal person to drive the company forward into the future. As Chairman, I will of course offer my full support to Mr. Yoshida and the new management team, and do all I can to facilitate a smooth transition and ensure their future success."
“I am very grateful to Kazuo Hirai and the Sony Board for their trust and confidence in appointing me as Sony President and CEO, and at the same time feel a great sense of responsibility in taking on this vitally important role. Together with the outstanding talent we have across the Sony Group, I will aim to build on the business foundations established by Mr. Hirai, and execute further reform measures that enhance our competitiveness as a global enterprise, and enable us to realize long-term profit growth. My first priority will be to finalize our next mid-range corporate plan starting in April, together with our immediate business plan for the fiscal year 2018, and then move ahead swiftly with implementation. This is a hugely exciting time at Sony as we look to our future, and together with my management team I intend to determine the best path for us to move forward, and devote my full effort to creating a better Sony that captures the imagination of our many stakeholders around the world.”
We wish the best of luck to him in his new role!