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Sony hack boss Schaaff quits

New CEO Kazuo Hirai makes his mark

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The changes continue at ailing Japanese electronics giant Sony, as Tim Schaaff, president of the firm’s online entertainment business during the massive data breach of 2011, announced his decision to quit at the end of the year.

Schaaff, a protégé of former CEO Howard Stringer, was hired from Apple in 2005 to become president of Sony Network Entertainment. During his time with the fruit-themed tech giant he was instrumental in developing QuickTime.

Schaaff was brought in to create a unified “entertainment experience” across all Sony hardware products. This included driving the development of online services such as the PlayStation Network, Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited.

While the PlayStation Network has amassed a serious following, the same cannot be said of many of the other services, which failed to replicate the success of iTunes that Sony was probably hoping for when it poached the former Apple exec.

Schaaff was also at the helm when Sony endured its darkest hours after a massive data breach exposed the personal details of around 77 million PlayStation Network account holders.

Sony was widely criticised at the time for delaying its decision to inform customers by a week, a decision Schaaff has since defended.

He said the following in a canned statement:

Under the leadership of Kaz [CEO, Kazuo Hirai] and Sir Howard Stringer before him, Sony gave me tremendous support to build a global team to coordinate and lead the company's network service business. Together we created something of significant value that will be an important part of Sony's future. I'm grateful to have had this unique opportunity, proud of the commitment my team has demonstrated, and encouraged about Sony's prospects in this strategic area.

The statement didn’t explain why Schaaff decided to step down although Sony told the Wall Street Journal that it was for that executive staple, “personal reasons” – to spend more time with his family.

Schaaff will be replaced by PlayStation boss Andrew House. ®

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