February 2, 2018 // 10:53 a.m.
Kazuo 'Kaz' Hirai has announced he is stepping down from his role as president and chief executive officer at Sony, with former chief financial officer Kenichiro Yoshida named as his successor.
Having joined CBS/Sony Incorporated's marketing department in 1984 and surviving the transition to Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Kaz Hirai moved from the music business to the video game industry with a shift to Sony Computer Entertainment America in 1995. There, Hirai would oversee the staggering success of Sony's PlayStation brand of games consoles, and just two weeks after the launch of the PlayStation 3 Hirai took over the role of Sony Computer Entertainment's overall chief operating officer then in 2007 its president and group chief executive. The merger of Sony's electronics and gaming business in 2009 saw Hirai move to the role of corporate executive officer of the enlarged Sony Corporation, and by 2012 was serving as president and chief executive.
'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,' says Hirai of his tenure at the company. '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.'
'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,' adds Kenichiro Yoshida, who moves from his former role as chief financial officer to fill Hirai's shoes. '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.'
Hirai has confirmed he will retain his directorship and take on the role of chair as of April 2018, while Yoshida's first act as chief executive and president will be to implement a 'new management structure' at the same time.