Earlier in 2019, Sony announced Kaz Hirai, who most recently served as Chairman and held a Board of Directors position, would depart the company this summer. The time has come and gone. As of June 18th, Kaz Hirai’s retirement took effect. While he has stepped down from his more prominent positions, Sony’s previous statement on the matter noted he will “continue to provide counsel as requested by Sony’s management team, acting as Senior Advisor.”
This isn’t Hirai’s first time stepping away from a leadership position in recent memory. In February 2018, he exited his position as Sony’s President and Chief Executive Officer. By April of that same year, Kenichiro Yoshida had taken over as the company’s President and CEO. This transition placed Hirai in the roles of Chairman and Director, which he has now retired from.
Yoshida had this to say of Hirai’s departure when it was announced this past April:
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’s retirement is more than a well-deserved one, as he’s served the company in some fashion for 35 years. The former CEO joined Sony Music Entertainment in 1984, back when it was known as CBS/Sony Records. In 1995, he transitioned into roles regarding the computer entertainment segment of the business. Thus, he was there from the very start of Sony Computer Entertainment, which eventually paid off, of course.
Following the launch of PlayStation 3 in late 2006, Hirai was appointed as President and CEO. While those were admittedly rocky times for both the company and its PlayStation division, there’s no denying Hirai’s leadership was instrumental in turning things around for the PlayStation 4 era.