Sony chairman Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai has announced his retirement, drawing a 35-year career with the company to close. Hirai stepped down as CEO a little over a year ago, passing the role to Kenichiro Yoshida, the CFO with whom he orchestrated Sony's turnaround from a money-losing gadget maker to a profit-oriented company focused on components and PlayStation business
Hirai will leave his chairman role on June 18th, but will continue to act as a "senior advisor" for the company upon request of Sony's management team. "Hirai-san and I have been working on managing reforms since December 201
"Since passing the CEO's baton to Yoshida- "Last year, as president of Sony, I've had the opportunity to both ensure smooth transition and provide support to Sony's management," Hirai's statement says. "I'm 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. "
Hirai joined Sony's music division in 1984, later moving to the US to lead the label's overseas marketers. He moved to Sony Computer Entertainment in 1995 just before the launch of the first PlayStation, and ultimately succeeded Ken Kutaragi in 2006 as the head of the gaming business. In 2012 he replaced Howard Stringer as Sony CEO, spearheading and "One Sony" initiative that streamlined the company's operations.