Kutaragi to step down as Sony game unit CEO

Ken Kutaragi will step down as chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment in June, according to the company

Ken Kutaragi, the man who led Sony into the game console business, will step down as chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI), the company said late Thursday.

Kutaragi announced his intention to step down during an SCEI board meeting in Tokyo on Thursday and said he had been considering the move for some time, according to a Sony spokesman.

Until recently Kutaragi served as president and CEO of SCEI but a management shake-up in late November, just weeks after the launch of the PlayStation 3, saw the president's job given to Kaz Hirai and Kutaragi made chairman. Typically the president handles day-to-day operations at a Japanese company and the chairman's position is filled by a former president ahead of their retirement.

That move was viewed by some analysts as a response to several missteps in the launch of the PlayStation 3. The launch date was delayed and the console was widely criticized as being too expensive, a view Sony appeared to accept when it took the unusual step of cutting the price of one of the two PlayStation 3 consoles ahead of its launch in Japan.

Kutaragi's retirement will be effective from June 19, which is when SCEI holds its shareholder meeting. He will stay on as honorary chairman of SCEI and will also become a senior technology advisor to parent company Sony.

Hirai, who is currently president and group chief operating officer, will be promoted to president and group CEO.

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Martyn Williams

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