Former PlayStation head Kaz Hirai steps down as Sony CEO

Kaz Hirai

If you’ve been heavily ingrained in video games or PlayStation for the last decade or two, you’re bound to know who Sony’s own Kaz Hirai is. The man was the face of PlayStation for years, coming out at E3 and other events to discuss the future of the brand, making bold decisions to help steer the ship in exciting directions, and he’s known for his unparalleled excitement for Ridge Racer.

After his reign in the PlayStation department, he became Sony CEO where he helps oversee every aspect of the company. Hirai has a long-standing history with the Japanese company and has spawned a large following, including a parody Twitter account which he has publicly acknowledged himself. On April 1st, Hirai will be stepping down as Sony CEO and will be replaced by Kenichiro Yoshida. Hirai will take on the position of Chairman once the transition takes place at the start of the Japanese fiscal year.

You can read a statement from Kaz Hirai below.

“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.”

It sounds like Hirai has the utmost confidence in Mr. Yoshida and places his trust in the Sony executive who has helped lead the company to success. You can read a statement from Yoshida below.

“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.”

So long, Kaz Hirai. We will never forget you and your undying love for Ridge Racer.