Shawn Layden is stepping down as CEO of SIE Worldwide Studios and leaving the company. The announcement came via Sony’s Twitter account, with no explanation as to the reason for his departure.
It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE. His visionary leadership will be greatly missed. We wish him success in future endeavors and are deeply grateful for his years of service. Thanks for everything, Shawn!
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) September 30, 2019
Layden joined Sony in 1987 and held the positions of vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. When Sony changed organizational structure over a year ago, Layden became chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios. From 2014 to 2018, Layden helped host PlayStation E3 conferences.
As head of PlayStation’s games studios, Layden oversaw the launches of PlayStation 4 exclusive hits including Detroit: Become Human, God of War, Days Gone, and the upcoming release of Death Stranding.
Layden focused on PlayStation’s studios such as Naughty Dog and Sony Santa Monica. He also supervised the purchase of Insomniac, which became Sony’s first-party studio system in August.
We are yet to learn who will replace Layden in the vacated post.
Layden’s departure coincided with the retirement Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia president and Sony Interactive Entertainment corporate director Atsushi Morita, who is leaving the company due to age.
SIE: Atsushi Morita, President of SIEJA and director of SIE Japan unit, left the positions today as he retired from Sony group due to age. Replacing him as director is SIE CFO Kazuhiko Takeda, as president of SIEJA undecided yet. I liked you smiling on stage. Thanks, Morita-san. pic.twitter.com/6SNkpACcfj
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) October 1, 2019
As Gematsu writes, “October 1 marks the start of second half of the fiscal year for many Japanese companies, and is often a time when personnel changes are announced.”
With Sony providing no context for this, we can only guess the extent of this reshuffle and whether it has to do with the transition to the next generation consoles.