The tweet reads: “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!”
A graduate of Notre Dame, Layden, 58, has been with Sony for more than three decades. Beginning in public relations in 1987, he worked as an assistant to Sony founder Akio Morita. Then he worked as a Tokyo-based producer, subsequently rising through the ranks to hold senior positions such as chief operating officer and then president of PlayStation in the United States.
He has become a regular fixture at public-facing events such as E3 and The Game Awards, especially as Sony ramps up toward the launch of PlayStation 5.
Layden began his tenure as head of worldwide studios in 2016. His most recent achievement was the purchase of developer Insomniac, which was brought into the company’s first-party studio system.
Neither Layden’s Twitter account nor his LinkedIn page makes any mention of his departure.
A spokesperson for Sony told Polygon that there is “no other information at this moment,” apart from the original tweet. But questions are bound to be raised by the suddenness of this announcement, the lack of context in Sony’s statement, and the lack of a stated plan for a replacement. We’ll have more on this as it emerges.