Last February, then Sony CEO Kaz Hirai announced that he would be stepping down and transitioning to a director-chairman role. In March of this year, the executive confirmed his retirement, which left then CFO Kenichiro Yoshida in charge of the company. Hirai’s last day at PlayStation and Sony as a whole was Tuesday, June 18th. It was previously reported that he will serve as senior advisor and “will continue to provide counsel as requested by Sony’s management team.”
Mr. Hirai joined Sony Music all the way back in 1984 and moved to Sony Computer Entertainment (known today as Sony Interactive Entertainment) in 1995 before becoming CEO and President of the company in 2012. At the time of his promotion, Hirai said his mission was “to ensure Sony continues to be a company that provides customers with games that move them emotionally — and inspires and fulfills their curiosity.” Games like God of War, The Last of Us, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and so many others, are some recent examples that have instilled Hirai’s vision of what he called “kando.”
During his time, he helped pull the PlayStation brand out of two major messes. In 2006 at E3, Hirai was the one to announce that the PS3 would be $599 USD, but over time was able to bring the console down to $299 USD. However, because of this and Hirai announcing Ridge Racer, he automatically became a meme to the internet community. In April 2011, the PlayStation brand suffered a blow as the PlayStation Network was hacked, causing the company to shut off PSN on April, 20th, 2011. On May 4th of the same year, Sony confirmed that personally identifiable information from each of the 77 million accounts had been exposed. Kaz was able to help the company and its fans weather the storm and see them through to the other side.
With Hirai heading off to live his best life, he’s entrusting Sony to the newly-appointed Yoshida, who assumed the position of CEO and President on April 1, 2018. Speaking of his successor, Hirai has said Yoshida “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 the baton was passed, Yoshida said he aims “to build on the business foundations established by Hirai, and execute further reform measures that enhance our competitiveness as a global enterprise, and enable us to realize long-term profit growth.”
Hirai’s decision to step down was partly because he was “worn down from the travel schedule he’s maintained during the past six years as CEO,” a Variety source said. Now that he’s finally able to wind down after being reportedly worn down, Hirai plans to spend more time with his family in his California home — something that he deserves so much.
Kaz Hirai has given the PlayStation brand a lot of memorable moments and is loved by his former employer, employees, and fans around the world. We here at GamingLyfe, wish Kaz Hirai nothing but the best in his retirement and life.