Japanese consumer electronics company Sony’s chairman Kazuo Hirai has announced his retirement from the company. With this, his 35-year career is coming to a close. It is worth mentioning that Hirai stepped down from the post of CEO around a year back and passed the role of Kenichiro Yoshida.
We should also add that Yoshida was the CFO with whom Hirai orchestrated Sony’s turnaround from a loss-making electronics maker to a profitable company that focussed on its PlayStation business.
Hirai will be leaving his role of chairman on June 18 this year, however, he will continue to be associated with the company as an occasional ‘senior advisor’ upon the request of the company’s management.
Speaking about Hirai’s departure in a statement, Yoshida said, “Hirai-san and I have been working on management reforms together since December 2013. 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.”
Hirai also spoke about leaving his post at the Chairman saying, “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. 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.”
It is worth adding that Hirai joined Sony’s music division in 1984 and later moved to the United States to lead the company’s overseas marketing. He then moved to Sony Computer Entertainment in 1995 just before the first ever PlayStation was launched.
In 2006, he succeeded Ken Kutaragi as the head of the gaming business. And in 2012, Hirai replaced Howard Stringer as the CEO of Sony. He then spearheaded the ‘One Sony’ initiative that streamlined the Japanese electronics maker’s operations.
We should mention that the company’s PlayStation business has constantly been making profits and after years of making fans wait, Sony is expected to finally launch the next generation of PlayStation soon. Recently, a report surfaced online which claims that the gaming console will either be launched this year or in 2020.