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Sony veteran Kaz Hirai has left the company after 35 years

"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."

Former Sony CEO Kazuo 'Kaz' Hirai has departed the company for good, after spending the past year serving as chairman and director. 

Hirai passed the baton of CEO to then CFO Kenichiro Yoshida on April 1, 2018, and agreed to stay on as chairman and director to oversee a smooth transition. 

In a statement today, however, the veteran exec said he'd be leaving the company he joined all the way back in 1984. 

"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," he commented.

"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 marks the end of an era for Sony, with Hirai having being involved in the company's global games business since 1995, when he left the Sony Music Entertainment Japan division to join the Sony Computer Entertainment America team. 

After that, he rose through the ranks, and eventually became the face of Sony's global games business as president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. During his time as the helm, he oversaw the launch of both the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, and helped establish franchises including Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper.

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