Sony Interactive has seen some major shifts in leadership through 2019 and earlier, ever since CEO Kaz Hirai first announced that he would be stepping down to an advisory position in April 2018. Since then, a number of executives and leaders have transitioned around, as well as out of, the company as Sony continues to make efforts to globalize.
While rumors have surfaced that some of these exits involve internal politics and controversies, the majority of leaders to leave the company have announced their transitions as professionally as expected from such high profile positions. This does still raise questions as to what Sony’s hierarchy, and specifically Sony Interactive Entertainment (the division responsible for PlayStation) is going to look like when the PS5 releases, with the company already making changes like pulling out of E3 in 2019.
Clearly the highest profile departure from the company is the President and CEO of Sony Corporation, Kaz Hirai, who stepped down to take on the position of Chairman in 2018. However, in 2019 Hirai stepped down as Chairman as well, leaving the company all together. This ends Hirai’s 35 year tenure at Sony, along with his 6 year position as President and CEO.
Replacing Hirai is Kenichiro Yoshida, who has retained his position as President and CEO since 2018. As for Hirai’s seat as Chairman, the position has remained vacant since his departure.
While not quite as recent as Hirai’s departure, Andrew House also left his position as President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2017. House ran the gaming side of the company from 2011 before retiring from Sony after 27 years at the company. However, with this transition, House didn’t simply step down and take an advisory position, instead choosing to leave the company all together.
His replacement, John Kodera took a promotion from Deputy President to President and CEO after House’s departure. Although in April of 2019, Kodera stepped down while Jim Ryan assumed the position of President and CEO, while Kodera filled in Ryan’s position.
From the Japanese side of SIE, Atsushi Morita stepped down from his position as President and CEO of the Japan branch of SIE this last October. Morita first advanced to the position in 2014 after a lengthy career at Sony that had awarded him a VP position before become President and CEO. Unlike some of the other restructurings within Sony, such as Jim Ryan and John Kodera shifting positions, this will be Morita’s full departure from Sony as a whole.
Currently Morita’s successor hasn’t been announced, leaving SIE Japan Asia without a permanent leader. However, with Jim Ryan taking on the leadership role for SIE all together, there is still an organized figurehead for the rest of the division.
Another recent departure includes Shawn Layden, who stepped down from his position as Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios in September of 2019. In 2014 Layden was made President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America before being named Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios in 2018. However, Layden’s departure ends his 32 year career with Sony that began back in 1987.
While there is currently no word on a replacement for Layden, SIE Worldwide Studios isn’t completely without leadership. That being said, there has been another high profile transition within SIE Worldwide Studios’ top ranks.
President and CEO of SIE Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, has also stepped down from his position. While Yoshida has not completely left the company, this will be another a major shift within a branch of the company that has already lost its Chairman only a month earlier. Yoshida will be taking a new position as a senior advisor for a separate division that will focus on supporting external independent creators, like Sony’s China Hero Project.
Guerilla Games’ Herman Hulst will take over for Yoshida as President and CEO of SIE Worldwide Studios. Sony and Guerilla Games have worked together on a number of games in the past, such as the Killzone series, Horizon Zero Dawn, and the recent Death Stranding, making the appointment of Hulst a clear indication of the relationship between the two companies.
Gio Corsi, the Head of Global Second Party Games, has also recently announced his departure from SIE in early November of 2019. While he will be leaving the company, Corsi did claim in his announcement that he does plan on returning to the gaming industry after a hiatus following his departure.
No replacement has been announced as of yet for Corsi, leaving the leadership position for Global Second Party Games available. It is likely, however, that Corsi will soon be replaced by one of the many employees that he named in his announcement as he left the company. After all of these departures, it’ll be interesting to see where PlayStation goes next.
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