The head of PlayStation is stepping down, Sony announced in a press release today. Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO, is retiring after just four years on the job. The massive shakeup in leadership comes as the PlayStation 5 breaks sales records and as Sony has doubled-down on prestige blockbuster games like The Last of Us Part 1 and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
“After 30 years, I have made the decision to retire from SIE in March 2024,” Ryan said in a statement. “I’ve relished the opportunity to have a job I love in a very special company, working with great people and incredible partners. But I’ve found it increasingly difficult to reconcile living in Europe and working in North America.”
Ryan will officially leave the position in April, 2024. Hiroki Totoki, Sony Group Corporation President, COO and CFO, will help with the transition and take on the role of interim CEO of PlayStation once Ryan leaves, and will help with the search for his successor. The news was first reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.
A 30-year veteran of Sony, Ryan was promoted to the top PlayStation job in 2019 after a re-organization saw head of CEO of Worldwide Studios, Shawn Layden, step down, and President of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, transition into a more background role working with indie game developers.
As head of PlayStation, Ryan oversaw the launch of the PS5, which despite pandemic-era shortages, is now on pace to break sales records thanks to an ongoing lineup of first-party exclusive blockbusters like Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarök. His tenure also included the launch of PS VR2, as well as a major pivot by the subscription service PS Plus to more directly compete with Xbox Game Pass’ Netflix-like library of games.
The unexpected departure comes just a couple months after Sony signed a 10-year agreement with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the tech giant’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Despite a vicious regulatory fight in the U.S. with the Federal Trade Commission and in the UK with the Competition and Markets Authority, both of which included testimony by Ryan, the historic deal is likely set to close beginning in October.
“Jim Ryan has been a great contributor to our industry and a fierce leader for PlayStation,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer tweeted. “I wish him the best in what he does next. Thank you for all you’ve done for the community over the last 30 years, Jim.”
Here’s the full press release:
Sony Group Corporation and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) today announced that SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan has made the decision to retire in March 2024 after almost thirty years with the PlayStation business. To support Mr. Ryan in his transition, Sony Group Corporation President, COO and CFO Hiroki Totoki will assume the role of Chairman of SIE effective October 2023. Effective April 1, 2024, Mr. Totoki will be appointed Interim CEO of SIE while he continues his current role at Sony Group Corporation. Mr. Totoki will work closely with Sony Group Corporation Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and the management team of SIE to help define the next chapter of PlayStation’s future, including the succession of the SIE CEO role.
Jim Ryan joined Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Europe-based legal entity, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe (SIEE) — which was then Sony Computer Entertainment Europe — in 1994. Since then, he has held a number of senior positions at the company including President of SIEE, Head of Global Sales and Marketing at SIE and Deputy President of SIE since January 2018, before being appointed SIE President and CEO.
Comment from Kenichiro Yoshida
“Jim Ryan has been an inspirational leader throughout his entire period with us, but never more so than in overseeing the launch of PlayStation 5 in the midst of the global COVID pandemic. That extraordinary achievement made by the entire SIE team has been steadily built on and PlayStation 5 is on track to become SIE’s most successful console yet. I’m immensely grateful to Jim for all his achievements. Respecting Jim’s decision to finish his long career at Sony leaves me with an important decision regarding his succession given the significance of the Game & Network Services business. We have discussed intensively and have determined the new management structure. We aim to achieve Sony Group’s further evolution and growth through bringing even greater success to the Game & Network Services Business.”
Comment from Jim Ryan
“After 30 years, I have made the decision to retire from SIE in March 2024. I’ve relished the opportunity to have a job I love in a very special company, working with great people and incredible partners. But I’ve found it increasingly difficult to reconcile living in Europe and working in North America. I will leave having been privileged to work on products that have touched millions of lives across the world; PlayStation will always be part of my life, and I feel more optimistic than ever about the future of SIE. I want to thank Yoshida-san for placing so much trust in me and being an incredibly sensitive and supportive leader.”
Comment from Hiroki Totoki
“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Jim Ryan for his outstanding achievements and contributions over his 30-year career at Sony, including the great success of launching the PlayStation 5. The PlayStation business managed by SIE is an essential part of Sony Group’s entire business portfolio. I will work with Jim and the senior management team closely to ensure our continued success and further growth. I am also looking forward to creating the exciting future of PlayStation and the game industry together with everyone at SIE and its business partners.”
Update 9/28/2023 2:02 p.m. ET: Added a tweet by Phil Spencer.