Farewell: In a surprise announcement, Sony's official PlayStation account tweeted the departure of one of the company's most prominent public figures: Shawn Layden, Chairman of Sony Worldwide Studios. The development comes at an important time for the company when its next-gen PlayStation 5 console is expected to be unveiled early next year. There's no official word yet on when exactly he'll be leaving or any information about his replacement.

Earlier this year, Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aimé left the company and now another icon of the gaming industry, Shawn Layden, is departing SIE as its Worldwide Studios Chairman.

It has been a pretty remarkable journey for Layden who began his career at Sony in 1987 as a comms assistant for co-founder Akio Morita and then made his way up the corporate ladder holding various executive positions across Europe and Japan. One of the key milestones for him was succeeding Jack Tretton in 2014 as the President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA).

At the helm, Shawn became the public face of PlayStation where he participated in several gaming events, including Sony's annual PSX conferences, four E3s (2014 to 2018, Sony skipped E3 2019) and The Game Awards, an event in which last year he famously shared the spotlight with Xbox's Phil Spencer and Nintendo's former President Reggie Fils-Aimé.

Although Sony recently put out a press release announcing several personnel appointments and organizational changes, they were limited to its headquarters and R&D center, with no mention of its PlayStation division.

The company hasn't given out any further explanation regarding this development or announced Shawn's replacement. Regardless of who it is, those are going to be some big shoes to fill as Sony (and the gaming community) look forward to the PlayStation 5 that's expected to be unveiled early next year.