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Kaz Hirai steps down as Sony CEO, announcing Kenichiro Yoshida as his replacement

Current CEO of Sony, Kaz Hirai is stepping down at the end of March after steering the company for six years. Current CFO Kenichiro Yoshida has been announced as his replacement, with the managerial transition taking place in April.

The move is set to whittle down Hirai’s many titles from Sony’s Director, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, President and Chief Executive Officer to become just the Director and Chairman of the company. Yoshida will, of course, be travelling in the opposite direction, taking up all of Hirai’s old responsibilities and titles under the new moniker of CEO, while Hiroki Totoki will be taking his place as the new CFO.

Yoshida has been credited with much of Sony’s financial turnaround after Hirai hired him early on to assume the role of chief strategist during his tenure as CEO. He is responsible for the increasing focus on stronger brands like PlayStation, while scaling back and selling off the weaker components, such as its VAIO PC division.

“Mr. Yoshida combines a deeply strategic mindset with a relentless determination to achieve defined targets, and the ability to take a global viewpoint,” says Hirai in an official statement. “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.”

“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,” adds Kenichiro Yoshida.

“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.”

Hirai is expected to end on a high note with Sony’s operating profit estimated to hit a record 630 billion yen. More details on its upcoming strategies might be unveiled later today when these figures are officially revealed.

KitGuru Says: While it’s doubtful given Sony’s current vision on its PlayStation brand, a new CEO could spell some differences in approach to the console regarding, say, cross-compatibility with other platforms. Then again, perhaps I’m being a bit too hopeful here, as Phil Spencer is the exception and not the rule when it comes to spoiling his Xbox community with beneficial, open-minded changes. Still, it looks like Sony is in good hands moving forward.

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