CEO of Sony, Kaz Hirai, will be leaving his position on April 1, 2018. He will continue to be the chairman of the company while Sony’s current CFO Kenichiro Yoshida will replace him as the new CEO. Hirai assumed the role of CEO in 2012, after being associated with Sony for more than 20 years in the company’s video games division.
Best known for his contribution to Sony’s PlayStation, he was tasked with the development of PlayStation’s software lineup in the late 1990’s. Under his leadership, Sony extended the functionality of its PlayStation gaming consoles and moved to a subscription-based model for its music segment.
Before becoming the CEO, Hirai launched the PlayStation 3 which gained popularity for all the wrong reasons. The console’s launch models were advertised at the extremely high price of $499 and $599 which led to shock across the gaming industry. The cheaper version didn’t even have Wi-Fi or hard drive storage.
“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,” Hirai said in a statement. “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.”
During Hirai’s tenure, the stock price of Sony went up by approximately 200% to $52 while he tried to regain the dominant position within consumer electronics and gaming that the company was known for for the past 20 years. The company regained partial footing since its downfall in 2000.
Hirai kept the company’s efforts diversified across several markets ranging from computers to Hollywood movies. However, there are two main things that pulled the company together during Hirai’s tenure: the PlayStation division and the image sensors that Sony manufactures and sells to other companies.