Sony Corp. promoted Andrew House as president and group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., the division that houses its PlayStation gaming business.
House will be reporting to Kazuo Hirai, who took on the title of chairman of SCEI, replacing Akira Sato, who will retire Aug. 31. The promotions take effect Sept. 1.
Sony also said Ken Kutaragi, the outspoken semiconductor engineer credited with creating the original PlayStation, retired Tuesday from his largely ceremonial role as honorary chairman of SCEI. Kutaragi relinquished active management of the business he created and built into a powerhouse in 2007 when he stepped down as CEO of the business group.
House, who currently runs the PlayStation business in Europe, will oversee PlayStation's global operations. Hirai's promotion in March gave him control of Sony's vast consumer electronics business as well as the PlayStation unit.
Both longtime Sony executives worked closely together in Foster City, Calif., when House was head of communications and then marketing for the U.S. PlayStation business during the 1990s and Hirai was operational manager and then president of the group.
SCEI posted its first annual profit in five years for its fiscal year ended March 31, recording an operating profit of $429 million on $19 billion in revenue, largely by reducing the cost of producing its PlayStation 3 game console.
Hirai pointed to challenges ahead as Sony competes with Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co. for dominance as the hub of digital entertainment in the living room and in mobile games. Sony has announced it will launch a portable gaming console dubbed Vita later this year.
"We are facing new challenges this year," Hirai said in a statement, "such as the successful launch of PlayStation Vita and further growth of the PS3 platform as well as the expansion of the non-gaming business."
-- Alex Pham