Kazuo Hirai Leaves Position as Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment

In a press release Sony made public yesterday, the company announced Kazuo Hirai has stepped down from his post of representative director and chairman of his division to become a part-time member of the board. The move was effective as of June 25.

According to the report, Andrew House will be his replacement, acting as representative director plus president and group CEO of the Computer Entertainment division.

The 51 year old Hirai will remain in his capacity as president and CEO of the Sony Corporation, a position he has held since just April of this year. No reason was given for the change, but it’s probably so Hirai can remain focused on the gargantuan job he has now of pacifying fears of a horrible year so far for Sony.

Once an icon of Japan Inc. with its portable Walkman music player and Trinitron TV, Sony reported the worst loss in its 66-year corporate history for the business year ended March with red ink of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion). Profitability was battered by factors outside Sony’s control such as last year’s tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan, flooding in Thailand, the global economic slowdown and a soaring yen.
But most critically, Sony stumbled in the face of powerful, often cheaper, rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., which dominates the global TV market. Sony has lost money for eight straight years in its TV business. Sony’s glamor image is fading next to Apple Inc.’s iPod, iPhone and iPad, now bigger hits not only globally but also in Sony’s Japanese home market, displaying the kind of ingenuity that was once prized as Sony’s.

It’s easy to see why they’ve been making so many changes this year.

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