Kaz Hirai has announced that he will retire from Sony after 35 years with the company, following his decision to step down as CEO of the company last year. Hirai, a formative figure in Sony’s PlayStation division, will step down from the company and bring an end to a career that spans over three decades with the tech giant.
Hirai had previously passed his role as CEO over to Kenichiro Yoshida, the company’s former CFO, in 2018. He joined Sony in 1984, helping with its music division, before joining Sony Computer Entertainment in 1995 and helping with the launch of the original PlayStation. Hirai and his leadership drove Sony to huge profits during the PS2 era, before becoming president of Sony Computer Entertainment two weeks after the launch of the PS3. In 2012, Hirai became president and CEO of Sony.
“Since passing the baton of CEO to Yoshida-san last April, as Chairman of Sony, I have had the opportunity to both ensure a smooth transition and provide support to Sony’s management,” Hirai said in an official statement. “I am confident that everyone at Sony is fully aligned under Yoshida-san’s strong leadership, and are ready to build an even brighter future for Sony. As such, I have decided to depart from Sony, which has been a part of my life for the past 35 years. I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to all our employees and stakeholders who have supported me throughout this journey.”
Yoshida also offered his thoughts on Hirai’s retirement: “I want to extend to him my deepest gratitude for his tremendous contributions in further strengthening Sony’s corporate governance,” the CEO said.
Hirai will still act as a senior advisor for Sony after he steps down on June 18, 2019. This role will see him helping inform Sony’s decision-making when the company needs his input, though he will no longer be a part of its board of directors.
“Moving forward, under the supervision of our new Board of Directors, chaired by Sumi-san, we will continue to pursue management aimed at increasing Sony’s mid- to long-term corporate value. Hirai-san and I have been working on management reforms together since December 2013. Yoshida said. “While he will be retiring from both Chairman and our Board of Directors, we look forward to his continuing high-level support to Sony’s management that encompasses a breadth of diverse businesses.”
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