Kaz Hirai stepping down as Sony CEO after six years

Hirai will take on the mantle of chairman and director, while current CFO Kenichiro Yoshida will be taking over as CEO.

Kazuo 'Kaz' Hirai is stepping down as Sony CEO after six years at the helm, and will be replaced by current CFO Kenichiro Yoshida at the start of the next fiscal year on April 1.

Hirai will take on the mantle of chairman and director, while Yoshida will take over as CEO to lead the company as it embarks on its next "mid-range corporate plan."

Yoshida's appointment was proposed by Hirai himself, and was approved by the Sony Board of Directors earlier today 

"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," commented Hirai. 

"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."

Hirai has worked at Sony since 1984, starting out in the Sony Music Entertainment Japan marketing department before eventually joining the fledgling Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) video game division in 1995.

He quickly rose through the ranks, and would eventually go on to lead the company's global games business as president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. 

During his long tenure, Hirai oversaw the launch of both the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, and helped establish key franchises like Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper.

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