Kaz Hirai Stepping Down as Sony President and CEO

In a surprising announcement yesterday, Sony announced that Kazuo Hirai – affectionately known as Kaz Hirai – will be stepping down as CEO of Sony Corporation. Sony has announced that Kenichiro Yoshida has been named as President and CEO and will be taking over starting on April 1, 2018. Despite stepping down as CEO, Hirai will remain in the company, retaining the Director and Chairman roles once April hits.

Following the realignment, Sony has said it will embark on its next mid-range corporate plan starting on April 1, now led by Yoshida. In a statement made by Sony, Hirai said Yoshida was the “ideal person” to drive the company forward in the future, and as Chairman he would continue to offer any support to both the new CEO and the new management team.

For the full statements from both Kazuo Hirai and Kenichiro Yoshida, read below:

Comment from Kazuo Hirai

“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.”

Comment from Kenichiro Yoshida

“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.”

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