Jack Tretton

Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, is stepping down, according to a press release from Sony.

Tretton has been a part of the company “since its inception in 1995,” and was a founding member of the team. He’d been president of the American division since 2006.

Tretton will complete his time with the company on March 31, and is to be replaced by Shawn Layden, who is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Network Entertainment International. The change “is a result of a mutual agreement between Mr. Tretton and SCEA not to renew their contractual relationship,” according to the press release.

“Working at SCEA for the past 19 years has been the most rewarding experience of my career,” said Tretton. “Although I will deeply miss the talented team at SCEA and the passion demonstrated every day by our fans, I’m very excited about starting the next chapter of my career. I want to thank the employees, partners and customers for their tireless commitment to the PlayStation brand and, of course, to our fans who have pushed us to new heights of innovation and entertainment over the past two decades. I leave PlayStation in a position of considerable strength and the future will only get brighter for PlayStation Nation,” said Tretton in the release.

You’re supposed to go out on top, right? Tretton leaves Sony just after the launch of the company’s fourth gaming console – its fastest selling yet and what has so far been a return to form after the PlayStation 3′s troubled lifespan. It’s unclear if Tretton is moving to another console maker or if he’s just retiring at this point. After watching him smirk knowingly on stage at E3 last year, awash in applause at the PlayStation 4 unveiling, I have a hard time believing he’s ready to leave the industry completely.