Sony Computer Entertainment Does The Corporate Shuffle

There’s some corporate shuffling going on over at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Given the company’s recent troubles, you would be forgiven in thinking that someone within the group had received the axe, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Kaz Hirai, SCEI’s president and chief-executive officer, has been promoted to the position of chairman, effective September 1. His vacated seat is filled by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president and chief-executive officer, Andrew House.

Hirai’s promotion is brought about by the retirement of the group’s current chairman, Akira Sato. Sato is retiring in August. Sony also announced that Ken Kutaragi, the “father of the PlayStation, will resign his role as honorary chairman of the group, effective June 28. Kutaragi will stay involved with the company, taking on the role of “senior technology adviser.”

It’s strange seeing Sato and Kutaragi departing from primary positions in SCEI, as both men have played such a pivotal role in the PlayStation brand’s history. Kutaragi’s name obviously carries distinction, but Sato was also one of the original members of the Computer Entertainment group, joining the company in 1993.

Hirai’s promotion follows months of difficult times for Sony Computer Entertainment, with the company suffering financially not only at the effects of the devastating earthquakes in Japan, but a security breach of their PlayStation Network. Hirai often played the role of apologist during the ordeal, even releasing videos to assure the potentially 77 million affected users that the company was working to correct the problem.

These organizational changes come only a day after it was announced (via L.A. Times) that Sony Corp. chief executive Howard Stringer’s pay was cut by 16%. Stringer’s compensation for the fiscal year totaled around $4.3 million, as opposed to $5 million in the previous year. Sony shareholders reportedly called for Stringer’s resignation during a recent meeting.

This is more or less conjecture, but I think it’s only a matter of time before we see Kaz Hirai in Sony’s top seat.