There has been a reorganization of top management at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., (SCEI) with Kazuo Hirai giving up daily administration of the videogames division.
As of Sept. 1, Hirai will become chairman of the videogames division. Andrew House will become the division’s president and group CEO. House now heads up the videogames division in Europe.
Reuters notes that the move comes just a few months after hackers attacked the company, which led to the compromise of information from 77 million PlayStation Network user accounts. In turn, that led to Sony shutting down the network for about a month, Reuters adds.
But a Sony company spokesman denied the management changes were related to the hacking incidents.
Hirai was still described by Reuters as the most likely successor to current Sony Chairman and CEO, Howard Stringer.
In addition, Reuters said that industry analysts did not view the management changes as a “setback” for Hirai.
"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 videogames business," analyst Nobuo Kurahashi of Mizuho Investors' Securities told Reuters.
He has led Sony to several achievements.
“In fiscal 2010, we achieved profitability for the first time in five years as a result of group-wide united efforts, including continuous cost reduction for PS3 [PlayStation 3] in which I first took the initiative after assuming president of SCEI in December 2006,” Hirai said in a company statement. “We are facing new challenges this year, such as the successful launch of PlayStation Vita and further growth of PS3 platform as well as expansion of nongaming business. I’m confident that the skills and expertise Andy has gained over two decades working for Sony and SCE Group will contribute enormously in leading the PlayStation business and to bring new initiatives in managing the business in the networked era.”
House began working for Sony in 1990 in corporate communications. In April 1995, he helped to launch the original PlayStation system. In March 1996, he was named vice president, Marketing, of Sony Computer Entertainment America.
He was named CMO of Sony in 2005. House led the company project to promote the Sony message, “make.believe.” And in 2009, House was named president, CEO and Co-COO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE).
SCEI makes, distributes and markets the PlayStation game console, the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the PSP (PlayStationPortable) handheld entertainment system and the upcoming PlayStation3 (PS3) system.
In other company news, current SCEI Chairman Akira Sato will retire on August 31. And Ken Kutaragi retired as honorary chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment.
Sony currently competes with Microsoft and Nintendo in digital entertainment in the living room and in mobile games, reports The Los Angeles Times.
In a related matter, TechZone360 reports that London police arrested a teenager in June on suspicion of involvement with the hacking of Sony’s user database. The worldwide investigation into Lulz Security is continuing, with the hacking group claiming it has disbanded.
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