After spending the better part of the last month pretending that nothing had been decided regarding the company's filling of the President/CEO role previously occupied by Sir Howard Stringer, Sony finally decided it was ready to say exactly what everyone pretty much already assumed would be the case: Kaz Hirai, the former head of Sony's Computer Entertainment division, will be handed the job.
Hirai will take the job officially on April 1, while Stringer will begin his tenure as Chairman of the Board of Directors this June. The press release announcement was full of congratulatory quotes of friendship and support between the two men, with Stringer stating he was looking forward to "...helping Kaz in every way I can so that succession leads inevitably to success," while Hirai remarked, "Challenging as times are for Sony now, were it not for the strong leadership of Sir Howard Stringer these past seven years, we would have been in a much more difficult position."
Reports about this exact transition came from Japanese newspaper Nikkei as early as January 6, but Sony immediately sent out a brief, curt refutation of the story, claiming that "nothing had been determined at this time." While in all likelihood this actually totally had been determined by precisely that time, Sony likely just wasn't ready with its press releases and investor quotes and whatnot. As we've come to learn in this business, "nothing has been determined" and all derivations thereof translate to: "Dammit, how did you get this story? Look, uh...just give us a month to get our shit together and we'll send you a press release or whatever. In the meantime, just pretend none of this happened."
How, exactly, a Hirai tenure might differ from Stringer's is something plenty of tech blogs will no doubt be debating today, but considering that he's reportedly been in the grooming process for this job by Stringer and crew since 2009, I'd hazard to guess we won't be seeing anything too drastically different.
More than anything else, this increased responsibility simply leads me to believe that I'm unlikely ever again to see a drunk-out-of-his-skull Hirai at a Sony E3 party jump up on stage and excitedly ask the crowd, "Are you ready for the coolest motherfuckers on the planet?!?" right before introducing Outkast, and then proceed to freak dance some nice ladies on the stage during a particularly rowdy rendition of "Bombs Over Baghdad". President/CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations generally just don't do that sort of thing...at least not in view of the press.
Regardless, these are the Hirai moments I'll truly cherish. Not that Riiiiiiiiidge Racer nonsense you kids love so much.