Hirai holding a PlayStation Vita prototype at PlayStation Meeting 2011
December 22, 1960 |
|Occupation||President and CEO, Sony Corporation|
Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai (平井 一夫 Hirai Kazuo , born December 22, 1960) is the President and CEO of Sony Corporation. He also serves as a member of the board of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony. He was noted by Entertainment Weekly as one of the most powerful executives in the entertainment industry. Hirai became the President and CEO of Sony on April 1, 2012.
Early years 
Hirai was born in 1960 in Tokyo, Japan, where he attended the American School in Japan. The son of a wealthy banker, Hirai often traveled with his father across the world to California, New York, and Canada and around Japan — a trait which Hirai noted to be a major factor in his later multi-continental business success.
It was his interest in games that later brought him into the entertainment business. After graduating from the International Christian University in August 1984 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, Hirai was hired at CBS/Sony Inc. (now Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.), where he was involved in marketing international music within Japan.
He eventually became head of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan's international business affairs office in New York.
Sony Computer Entertainment 
Since heading up Sony Computer Entertainment America, Kazuo Hirai has been instrumental in Sony's success. He played a fundamental role in the rise of the PlayStation in the United States, and his methods of cross-promoting of the PlayStation brand took its advertising beyond merely "game" or computer oriented fields. PlayStation advertisements were placed in mainstream sports events such as the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and even NASCAR. This method of marketing has been credited with introducing large numbers of individuals to video games who would ordinarily have not considered purchasing a console.
With the release of the PlayStation 2 in 2000, Kazuo continued his success, utilizing second-party franchises such as Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper, and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs series of games. Under his leadership, SCEA continually managed to retain high profits throughout the sixth generation era.
2006-2011 SCEI management shuffle 
On July 3, 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that Hirai had been made a vice president of its corporate executive group on July 1, 2006.
On November 30, 2006, just under two weeks after the launch of PlayStation 3, Hirai replaced Ken Kutaragi as President of Sony Computer Entertainment. While maintaining his positions at SCEA, Hirai also became chief operating officer of SCEI. Kutaragi himself was promoted to chairman of SCEI, and remained chief executive officer of the group.
On April 26, 2007, it was announced that Hirai will be promoted to President and Group CEO of SCEI, replacing Ken Kutaragi who would retire and instead take up the role of Honorary Chairman.
Hirai became Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment on September 1, 2011 and was replaced by Andrew House as President and Group CEO. He retired as Chairman of SCEI on June 25, 2012 but remains on the board of directors.
On April 1, 2009, Sony’s electronics and game businesses were merged and reconfigured as two major groups: the Consumer Products & Devices Group (CPDG) and the Networked Products & Services Group (NPSG). Hirai was appointed as Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of Sony Corporation, concurrently serving as president of the NPSG. He has overseen all development, production and marketing activities at the NPSG, comprising Sony's game (i.e. SCEI & Sony Online Entertainment), personal computer (VAIO), mobile devices (including Walkman and Xperia) and network service (Sony Entertainment Network, including online distributions of music, video, games, eBooks, etc.) businesses and new business incubation projects.
On April 1, 2011, Sony's consumer electronics, game, and networked service businesses were reorganized into one group, named the "Consumer Products & Services Group." Hirai was promoted to Representative Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President of Sony Corporation. He oversaw the Consumer Products & Services Group. Hirai was speculated to become the successor to Howard Stringer, the current sitting president and CEO of Sony Corporation, who was then expected to step down in 2013.
On February 1, 2012, Sony announced that Hirai has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2012. He was appointed to the Board at the annual shareholders meeting on June 27, 2012.
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- The Guardian
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- "Farewell Mr Playstation". mvcuk. April 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
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- "Executive Appointments". Sony Corporation. 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
- "Games business chief promoted to head of consumer products unit, putting him in line to succeed Sir Howard Stringer as CEO". gamespot.com. March 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
- "Sony promotes Hirai as possible successor to CEO". Reuters. March 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
- "Sony names Kazuo Hirai as President and CEO; Sir Howard Stringer to become Chairman of the Board of Directors". Sony Corporation. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "New Sony president Kazuo Hirai gets shareholder approval". 26 June 2012.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Kazuo Hirai|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kazuo Hirai|
- Kikizo video interview
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- 1UP.com interview