Sony has experienced several shifts at the top over the last few months. Not only did Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) president Andrew House leave the company late last year, but also Jim Ryan was announced as the deputy president of SIE last month. However, these are not the only changes being made among the company’s top brass.
It has now been confirmed that Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai will be stepping down from his role as Sony president and CEO, a position that he has held since April 2012. Gamers will know Hirai best as the former head of PlayStation.
On April 1, 2018, Hirai will become the chairman of Sony and Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s chief financial officer (CFO) will take over the role of president and CEO. Meanwhile, Sony’s current head of mobile and its chief strategy officer, Hiroki Totoki will become the company’s CFO.
In a statement, Hirai praised Yoshida’s “deeply strategic mindset with a relentless determination to achieve defined targets, and the ability to take a global viewpoint.” Hirai also pointed to Yoshida’s experience and his “unwavering leadership.” Yoshida aims to “build on the business foundations established by Mr. Hirai” including making Sony more competitive in the global marketplace and ensuring its long-term growth. “This is a hugely exciting time at Sony,” added Yoshida.
Hirai leaves the president and CEO role as Sony is in peak health. Yoshida and Hirai oversaw the “One Sony” strategy, which included selling off its laptops branch, restructuring Sony’s mobile business, and putting more focus on the PlayStation brand. This successfully turned the company’s finances around and Sony is now forecasting 630 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in profit for the financial year ending March 31.
The company’s leadership has also helped Sony to sell tens of millions of PS4 consoles so far and Yoshida is reportedly responsible for helping Sony to embrace a subscription mindset, understanding that it can have greater financial success by thinking beyond the initial console sale.
Hirai also leaves the role with the PlayStation brand poised to have another strong year. There are several major PS4 exclusives set to release in 2018 and Sony will continue to push its PS4 Pro, PS4 Slim, and PlayStation VR hardware. Yoshida’s goal will be to expand beyond that and figure out how else the company is going to make an impact. It won’t be an easy job but Hirai’s faith in Yoshida’s leadership should reassure fans that the incoming Sony boss won’t let them down.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Mauricio Pesce) with a Creative Commons 2.0 license