Kazuo Hirai steps down from Sony CEO role, replaced by man responsible for selling off VAIO
Kazuo ‘Kaz’ Hirai, the President and CEO of Sony Corporation since early 2012, is stepping down from that position after six years to allow his successor, Kenichiro Yoshida, to step up as the new President and CEO. Hirai isn't departing the company completely, and will remain with Sony as Chairman of the Board. He joined Sony in 1984 where he was originally focused on the music side of the business, before moving into senior positions within Sony Computer Entertainment America in 1995, then later Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Corporation, all divisions of the company that were responsible for parts of the highly successful PlayStation business.
Hirai has been President and CEO of Sony Corporation since early 2012, and his time at the helm has been associated with bringing the company back into profitability and a reignited focus on innovation after stagnating and falling behind competitors through the 2000’s.
Hirai has the following to say about his time as the head of Sony Corporation "Ever since my appointment as President and CEO in April 2012 … 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.”
Kenichiro Yoshida — Director, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, Executive Deputy President, and CFO — will become the new President and CEO as of 1 April 2018. Yoshida returned to Sony in 2013 as the CFO, where he was a “valuable confidant and business partner” in fulfilling the corporate plan to restructure and reinvigorate Sony. Yoshida has a more hardline management style than Hirai, and he was instrumental in separating the TV business as a wholly-owned subsidiary to allow the nimbler company to do what was needed to regain lost market share. The surprising decision to ultimately sell off the VAIO PC brand and facilities to a Japanese group, who still produces products under the VAIO name, was another key initiative that Yoshida was involved in.
Yoshida made the following statement regarding his new appointment "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.”