Kazuo Hirai, the former CEO who led Sony’s turnaround, is retiring

Here’s a well-earned retirement. Kazuo Hirai, the former CEO who spearheaded Sony’s turnaround in recent years, is leaving the company following 35 years of service, according to an announcement made today.

Hirai became Sony CEO in 2012, replacing Sir Howard Stringer with a mission of bringing the good times back to the then-bloated electronics giant through a strategy of increased focus and streamlining.

When he stepped down from the role in April 2018, Hirai and CFO Kenichiro Yoshida had turned Sony from a loss-making business into a profitable one thanks to a “One Sony” policy that downsized poorer performing divisions like mobile and advocated a deeper focus on products. The PlayStation business, which Hirai once managed as Sony’s head of gaming, was a key part of the revival, too.

Yoshida took over as CEO last year as Hirai transitioned to the chairman of the board, but now that tenure is over. Going forward in retirement, Hirai will be a “senior advisor” to the company, available to “provide counsel as requested by Sony`s management team.”

Here’s the statement issued by Hirai:

Since passing the baton of CEO to Yoshida-san last April, as Chairman of Sony, I have had the opportunity to both ensure a smooth transition and provide support to Sony’s management. I am confident that everyone at Sony is fully aligned under Yoshida-san’s strong leadership, and are ready to build an even brighter future for Sony. As such, I have decided to depart from Sony, which has been a part of my life for the past 35 years. I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to all our employees and stakeholders who have supported me throughout this journey.

Shuzo Sumi, who is chairman of Tokio Marine Holdings, will take over as Sony’s chairman.