Sony Names New U.S. PlayStation Chief to Replace Tretton

Sony Corp. named Shawn Layden president and chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America, the unit overseeing the U.S. PlayStation game business.

Layden will replace longtime CEO Jack Tretton, Sony said yesterday in a statement. The changes are effective April 1. Dan Race, a U.S.-based spokesman for Sony, declined to comment on the discussions that led to Tretton’s departure after 19 years. Sony cited a mutual agreement not to extend his contract.

Tretton led the U.S. PlayStation business when growth came through sales of consoles and packaged games in retail stores. Layden takes over as the company focuses on developing the console as the gateway to a broader entertainment network, offering games, movies and TV through the Internet.

Sony is basking in brisk sales of the new PlayStation 4 game console. The company last month said the machine outsold its competitors, including Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One, by almost 2-to-1 in January in the U.S., citing NPD Group Inc. data.

On March 4, the Tokyo-based company said it has sold more than 6 million systems, ahead of its earlier forecast of selling 5 million worldwide by the end of the month.

Sony American depositary receipts rose 2.2 percent to $17.86 yesterday in New York. They are up 3.3 percent this year.

Layden, executive vice president of Sony’s Network Entertainment unit, takes over in PlayStation’s largest market just months before the company is scheduled to begin consumer testing of Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai’s initiatives to further tie digital downloads of movies, games and music with Sony hardware.

Andrew House, who oversees Sony’s global network entertainment and video-game businesses, said in January the company will deliver PlayStation Now, a video-game download service, and a cloud TV service on the consoles this year.

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