What just happened? Hirai will officially retire from Sony as chairman on June 18, 2019, but will continue to provide counsel as a senior advisor. He started with the company in 1984 in the music division, working his way up the corporate ladder from there.

Sony Corporation Chairman and former CEO Kazuo Hirai on Thursday announced plans to retire from the company he has been with for the past 35 years.

The PlayStation veteran assumed the role of CEO on April 1, 2012, replacing Sir Howard Stringer who went on to serve as chairman of Sony before retiring the following year. Hirai navigated Sony through some treacherous waters in the years that would follow including the sale of its Vaio computer business and the restructuring of its television business but was able to return the company to profitability before stepping down as CEO last April.

Hirai said that since passing the baton to Kenichiro Yoshida, he has had the opportunity to ensure a smooth transition and provide support to Sony’s management. “I am 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,” Hirai added.

In his farewell message, Hirai thanked the employees and stakeholders that supported him throughout his career.