Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai will step down from his post on April 1, 2018 — six years since he assumed the role. He will remain as chairman of Sony, and the CEO seat will be filled by current CFO Kenichiro Yoshida. Hirai is perhaps best known for his role in the PlayStation business where he was deeply involved in the development and he famously unveiled the PlayStation 3 before he became CEO.
Investors in Sony have enjoyed significant gain in value in the six years since Hirai became CEO. Apart from the PlayStation business, Sony makes a significant amount of profits from the image sensors business that Sony produces and sells to other companies for inclusion in various imaging, media and consumer devices. Hirai and Yoshida worked together to transform Sony, making tough calls on different areas of the company, such as the troubled mobile and computer divisions.
Following this realignment, Sony will embark on a new mid-range corporate plan starting April 1 2018, under a new management structure led by Mr. Yoshida.
Kazuo Hirai commented, "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."
Mr. Yoshida commented, "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."