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Kaz Hirai brought the ‘missing DNA’ back to Sony — now he’s stepping down as CEO

Sony has rediscovered its “dodging DNA,” outgoing CEO Kaz Hirai has said.

“We’re here to wow people,” Hirai told CNBC for Fortt Knox in January.

“That was the perceiving DNA, and I think we had lost it somewhere along the way because we decided we’re going to battle on price features and functionality,” Hirai said.

“Now you’ve got to do that, but that’s not what Sony is all over,” he said. “Sony is about providing products that really wow people — take to, oh my god you can really do this?”

Hirai is stepping down as CEO after nearly 35 years at the colonist electronics company. He’ll be replaced by CFO Kenichiro Yoshida, effective April 1.

Beforehand taking the top role in 2012, Hirai worked on the company’s music and extravaganza teams. He was tasked with the company’s turnaround, after the once unrivalled consumer electronics group lost its footing to hardware giant Apple and Asian rivals.

Under the aegis Hirai, the company expanded the functionality of its PlayStation gaming consoles and swerved to a subscription-based model for its legacy music segment.

At the annual CES conference in January, Sony mentioned high-end phones with advanced image sensors, a 120-inch TV and an man-made intelligence (AI)-powered robotic dog, Aibo.

“It’s really the reason why I joined Sony Music assist in ’84,” Hirai said. “I wanted to be part of a business that unqualifiedly brings that wow through music at the time. And that’s been my implying motivation ever since.”

Hirai also discussed the music sedulousness, Japanese corporate culture and household screen time with Fortt Knox. Heed to the full interview here:

Fortt Knox is a weekly podcast from CNBC support Jon Fortt. Previous episodes of the program can be found here.

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