April 26, 2007 - Ken Kutaragi will step down from his position as SCEI's representative director, chairman and Group CEO on June 19, Sony has revealed. He will be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, current president and group COO, who will take on responsibility as leader of the PlayStation business worldwide.

According to the press release issued by Sony, Kutaragi is leaving to "pursue his dreams beyond PlayStation and to accelerate his network vision", whatever that means. Talking about the years he's spent building up PlayStation, Kutaragi said, "I am happy to graduate from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. after introducing four platforms to the PlayStation family. 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."

Kutaragi will continue to work with Sony as a senior technology advisor and will support Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation. Stringer said the company had benefited tremendously from Kuturagi's visions and will continue to be encouraged and supported by Sony.

He added: "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."

Kutaragi - known as the 'Father of PlayStation' - launched the original PlayStation in 1994 and has been the driving force behind each of its subsequent successors.

Thanks to http://ps3.ign.com/articles/783/783728p1.html for sharing the news with us!