Sony's rearranging the executive structure of its PlayStation branch. Kaz Hirai, who holds the title of president and CEO, is stepping away from the group to widen his focus on the company as a whole.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe chief Andrew House will take over those roles. (Hirai will remain involved as chairman of the group.) The switch takes place Sept. 1.
"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 non-gaming business," said Hirai. "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."
Given all of the recent drama surrounding the unit, it's easy to assume Hirai's move might be related, but the company is positioning this as a promotion – one that will let the assumed heir to Sir Howard Stringer's CEO play a bigger role in corporate-wide strategy.
The promotion of Hirai and House will mean the departure of two of the people who were essential to the creation of the PlayStation, however. Akira Sato, the group's current chairman – and one of the founding members of the Sony Computer Entertainment division, will retire. And Ken Kutaragi, who for many, many years was the company's personification of PlayStation will give up his honorary chairman role (though he will retain some ties to the company, acting as a "senior technology adviser".