Kenichiro Yoshida (left) and Kazuo Hirai (right) attending a Sony press-conference in 2016.
Chief Executive Officer of Sony Corporation - Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai, will step down from his position and will become Sony's chairman instead, as of April 1st 2018. Taking his place will be Kenichiro Yoshida - currently Chief Financial Officer of Sony. The news were announced today on Sony's official website.
The proposition for the upcoming change came from Kazuo Hirai himself and is considered somewhat of a surprise, considering his success throughout the years as the CEO. Hirai was appointed Chief Executive Officer back on April 1st 2012
, while being Executive Deputy President of Sony Corporation. At the time the company was going through financial problems, but his decisions as CEO helped immensely. The biggest proof for that came in 2013 when Sony reported net profit
in its full-year financial results for the first time in five years. This all came just a mere year after Hirai's appointment as CEO. Also under his management Sony put emphasis on its gaming and mobile divisions, while getting rid off some not so profitable projects, example being the Vaio laptops business, which was sold to an investment fund back in 2014
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.
Hirai has been with company since 1995, initially joining Sony Computer Entertainment - Sony's computer and console division. He helped make the PlayStation 2 the most successful console of all-time, selling over 158,000,000 units worldwide as of 2013, when it was discontinued.
Sony's future CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has been Chief Financial officer since 2014 and is also a part of the board of directors.
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.