Sony promotes Kaz Hirai to SCEI chairman, Sony Europe’s Andrew House takes over games group


Sony continues to reel after an April network breach led to the company’s PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment services being taken offline for a month. While time is the only thing that will restore consumer confidence in the end, some staffing changes were inevitable. It has now been confirmed that Kazuo Hirai, the company’s video games president and CEO, will be moving up to corporate ladder in September to become chairman of that same group. Sony Europe’s Andrew House will step in to replace him.

A company spokesperson tells Reuters that the shift doesn’t “have any connection” with the April hacking, but that sounds a lot like it’s just more damage control. The promotion likely wasn’t motivated entirely by events surrounding the April/May network shutdown, but it’s preposterous to think that such a significant moment in the company’s history, and Hirai’s performance throughout, didn’t in some way inform the decision.

Hirai is seen by most as the top candidate to one day replace Sony Corporation CEO and chairman Howard Stringer, and his new role puts him in a better position to do so. Meanwhile, House will first be tasked with bringing the company’s PlayStation Vita handheld gaming device to market and ensuring that it doesn’t stumble out of the game.

Speaking to Reuters on Hirai’s new role, Mizuho Investors’ Securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi said, “He’s in pole position to head the whole company, so he needs to focus on that, which is probably why they sought out a successor for the video games business.”