One of the leading names at Sony is stepping down from his role as the Corporate Executive Officer over the company. That's right, the former head of the PlayStation division, Kazuo Hirai, is stepping down as CEO and moving into the role of the director chairman over Sony.
Hirai will be succeeded by the Chief Financial Officer, Kenichiro Yoshida, who is getting a nice little upgrade come April 1st, 2018. The decision came from Sony's board of directors after Hirai willingly nominated himself out of the CEO position. The move was approved by Sony's board of directors shortly thereafter.
Why exactly did Kazuo Hirai give up his CEO position at Sony? Well, he mentions in the post that, after attaining the position in 2012, his goal was to make the mid-range corporate sector of Sony profitable, and he believes that with the team he was working with and with Yoshida in the CFO role, they managed to accomplish that goal at the company. He believes that moving forward Yoshida is the "ideal person" to continue to move Sony forward and toward profitability.
Kazuo Hirai made a name for himself taking the Sony brand to new heights by helping innovate the video game market with the PlayStation gaming console, getting his feet wet in the electronic entertainment business back in 1995. He's credited for helping to bolster the appeal of the PlayStation brand with the highly popular and mega-selling debut of the PlayStation 2 back in 2000, which really set the bar for what gamers expected out of a home console and the quality that comes with it.
It wasn't all rose gardens and daffodils, though. Hirai ran into some troubles with the SCE branch when the PlayStation 3 debuted back in 2006 to the sky-high price of $599.99. The exorbitant asking price for the console fused with difficult hardware architecture made the PS3 the odd man out of the trio of new consoles during the seventh generation of gaming, which included the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.
It was a serious struggle, but after securing more exclusives, pumping out award-winning games such as Uncharted and Heavy Rain, and expanding the install base globally, SCE managed to turn itself around and become both competitive and profitable once more. In fact, after Hirai took over as CEO in 2012, Sony continued a meteoric rise in revenue and profits from the PlayStation division, so much so that the PlayStation brand was literally anchoring the rest of the company with massive numbers, as reported by CNBC.
I suppose Hirai may have wanted to get out while the getting out was good as opposed to overstaying his welcome? Then again, maybe he really did see it as a task complete and decided to hand over the reins to someone he felt was more qualified for the job moving forward.