63: He Started in Music and Gaming, then Rose to the Top of Sony: Kaz Hirai, Sony CEO

 
 Sony CEO Kaz Hirai showed off the new version of the Aibo robot dog at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai showed off the new version of the Aibo robot dog at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Kaz Hirai has been the CEO of Sony for six years, and the company just announced that he'll be stepping aside and taking the title of Chairman in April. 

That means he's been the CEO at Sony for much of time that I've been at CNBC. And in that span I've sat down with him most every year at the Consumer Electronics Show, a sprawling event in Las Vegas where the world's gadget giants gather every year. 

Funny thing about Kaz – he stepped in to take the reins at Sony at a moment when the sky was falling in on the company. Apple's iPod and iTunes had snatched the digital music mantle away from the Japanese giant, and Samsung had seized Sony’s crown in TVs. Hirai leaves the CEO seat with the company pretty clearly better off than when he started. 

I sat down as usual with Hirai at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but this time, for both CNBC live and for the Fortt Knox podcast. We discussed Sony's latest products in phones, TV, and the return of that robot dog, Aibo – but I also talked to him about the multicultural life experience that prepared him to be CEO in this turbulent era.