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'Father of PlayStation' Ken Kutaragi Calls it Quits

by Rainier on April 26, 2007 @ 10:23 a.m. PDT

Sony Computer Entertainment announced today that Ken Kutaragi, Representative Director, Chairman and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., will retire from his executive position at SCEI effective June 19, 2007, when SCEI's annual shareholders' meeting will take place.

Mr. Kutaragi will pass on the torch to the next generation, stepping back from his executive management responsibility of the company to serve as Honorary Chairman of SCEI.

With his deep and instinctive insight into future technology, Mr. Kutaragi will also continue to support Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman and CEO, Sony Corporation, as senior technology advisor.

Concurrently, Kazuo Hirai, currently President and Group COO, SCEI, will be promoted to President and Group CEO, continuing his responsibility as the leader of the PlayStation® business worldwide.

Mr. Kutaragi, well known as the “Father of PlayStation”, invented and launched the original PlayStation in 1994 and its successor, PlayStation 2, in 2000. Since the introduction of PlayStation and subsequently PlayStation 2, these platforms opened up a vast market of computer entertainment. The two platforms combined now have an installed base of more than 200 million units in homes around the world, with more than 2 billion units of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 software titles shipped worldwide. The third generation of the company’s home computer entertainment system, PLAYSTATION┬«3, launched in November 2006 in Japan and North America and in March 2007 in Europe, will continue to revolutionize the computer entertainment experience with its immense computational power connected to the network.

After completing the launch of PLAYSTATION 3 worldwide, Mr. Kutaragi has decided to pursue his dreams beyond PlayStation and to accelerate his network vision.

“I am happy to graduate from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. after introducing four platforms to the PlayStation family,” said Ken Kutaragi, Chairman and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “It has been an exciting experience to change the world of computer entertainment by marrying cutting edge technologies with creative minds from all over the world. I’m looking forward to building on this vision in my next endeavors.”

“Ken Kutaragi is a rare combination of a powerful visionary and entrepreneur in one figure,” said Howard Stringer, Chairman and CEO, Sony Corporation. “Not only has he created a multi-billion dollar business for the Sony Group, he has brought the industry into a new dimension. Sony has benefited tremendously from his vision, his 2/2 creative genius, and from the very strong team he assembled and nurtured. As Ken moves forward to pursue new opportunities, we will encourage and support him. My support also goes to Kazuo Hirai, who is a terrific executive with a proven track record with PlayStation business in the US. I am confident that he will inspire and lead SCEI to new heights.”

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