Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) announced Thursday that the president and CEO of its North American unit, Jack Tretton, is stepping down at the end of this month. Tretton has played a crucial role in increasing the Japanese company’s PlayStation business in North America. Sony gave no specific reason for his exit. But the company said that the decision was mutual. Tretton was the face of Sony’s PlayStation business in North America. He is well-known for his appearances at the game industry conferences and the company’s launch events.

Jack Tretton

Tretton popularized Sony PlayStation in North America

Jack Tretton joined Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) in 1995, and has been leading the division since 2006. He said in a blog post that he resigned after a mutual agreement with the company to not renew their contractual relation. He took the PlayStation brand from almost nowhere to beating Nintendo and selling over 340 million gaming consoles to date. He had extensive experience in the video gaming industry. Before joining Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758), he had a stint at JVC Music Industries’s gaming unit. Prior to that, he served as the vice president of sales at Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI).

Under Tretton, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758)’s latest gaming console PlayStation 4, which was launched in November last year, was the highest selling console in the U.S. in January, according to research firm NPD. Sony said earlier this week that, as of March 2, it has sold more than 6 million units of PlayStation 4.

Sony names Shawn Layden as new SCEA head

Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) said that the SCEA’s chief operating officer and executive vice president Shawn Layden will step into Tretton’s shoes on April 1. Appointment of Layden as the new head of SCEA indicates that the Japanese company might by eying a digital future. Over the past few years, Layden has been working on establishing the company’s presence in digital distribution of games.

Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) shares went up 2.17% on Thursday to close at $17.86.