Former Sony CEO and the one-time leader of Sony’s PlayStation video game business Kazuo Hirai has announced he will retire from his post as Sony chairman in June.
Hirai will retire as Sony chairman June 18, when the electronics giant elects a successor. However, he will serve as a senior adviser to the company.
In April 2018, Hirai became chairman and stepped down as CEO when Sony’s chief financial officer Kenichiro Yoshida took that post. With that, “I have had the opportunity to both ensure a smooth transition and provide support to Sony’s management,” Hirai said in a statement issued Thursday by Sony.
“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,” said Hirai, who succeeded former CEO Howard Stringer in 2012. “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.”
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Ken Kutaragi may have been “The Father of the PlayStation,” but Hirai, who succeeded Kutaragi as president of Sony Computer Entertainment America in 2006, was its faithful steward.
After overseeing Sony’s successful PlayStation video game business, Hirai helped the company’s consumer electronics business to a turnaround after restructuring and massive cost-cutting initiatives.
He ran Sony Music’s international business affairs office before joining Sony Computer Entertainment America in 1995 as it prepared to launch the first PlayStation, which launched in Japan in 1994 and the U.S. in 1995, and went on to sell 102.4 million units.
The PS2, released in 2000, was the best-selling console game system ever, surpassing 155 million units sold. The current PS4, with lifetime sales of 91.6 million, has surpassed the PS3, which sold about 83.8 million, according to GameSpot.
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