Sony Computer Entertainment on Wednesday announced the appointment of Kazuo Hirai as the new chairman, and Andrew House as the new chief executive of SCE, effective September 1, 2011. The company also announced the retirement of Akira Sato and Ken Kutaragi from their roles at SCE. The shift of executives may mean shift of strategies.
The promotion of Kazuo Hirai to the chairman of SCE may seem a bit strange, given the fact that nobody knows the responsibilities of the chairman at Sony Computer Entertainment. Nonetheless, given the fact that Mr. Hirai also heads Sony's consumer electronics and service businesses, the appointment may mean that he may receive a promotion at Sony Corp. itself, which may easily become a major milestone for the company. The current mission of Mr. Hirai is to converge CE and PlayStation experiences into unique combination.
Andrew House joined Sony Corp. in 1990, where he worked in corporate communications for five years before joining SCE. At the computer entertainment division Mr. House worked at different positions in both the U.S. and, more recently, Europe (2009 - 2011) and both in marketing and developer relations. In 2005, he was appointed chief marketing officer with global responsibility for corporate marketing across all of Sony’s businesses with primary emphasis in building value in the Sony brand. What is noteworthy is that when choosing between Andrew House (current CEO of SCEE) and Jack Tretton (current CEO of SCEA), Sony Computer Entertainment decided to appoint Mr. House.
The motives behind the decision are not completely clear, but it is highly likely that SCE wanted the new CEO of the company to have hands-on experience in Europe on the first place, where the company has strong positions and cannot afford losing them. By appointing Mr. House, SCE ensures that its new chief exec will not lose Europe to Xbox 360 and will also continue to keep in mind the U.S. market, which he knows as well. The first task for Mr. House will be successful launch of new portable console PlayStation Vita and a longer term goal will be to lead the development of competitive PlayStation 4.
The resignations of Akira Sato and Ken Kutaragi, the chairman and honorary chairman of SCE, means that the company clearly wants younger executives to guide it into the long-term future.