Jim Ryan

The Luxe Lowdown: Jim Ryan

Jim Ryan is the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. We check in with him about his travels, downtime and important lessons in life…

Getting To Know You…

Jim Ryan.

President and Global CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Where is home?
I live in Highgate, in North London, although work requires me to travel a lot, principally to the Bay Area in California but also to Tokyo. There’s a big difference between where you live, and where your home is.

Even after almost fifty years away, I still think of Newcastle as my home. Nothing beats the feeling when the train crosses the bridge and you look up and down the Tyne. Nothing.

Three reasons you love where you live?
I don’t really. I’m happy in London but I don’t love it here. It makes all the sense in the world from a family and work perspective to live here, but if I left, I wouldn’t miss it that much.

The Day Job of Jim Ryan…

Jim Ryan Sony Interactive Entertainment

What do you do for a living?
I run Sony’s global PlayStation business. PlayStation is now the largest and most profitable part of Sony. That’s all very important, but just as crucial is my accountability to be towards the PlayStation Community, and how I ensure that people are surprised and delighted by the games and services that we offer them.

This is a non-trivial challenge as what gamers love in Tokyo can be very different to what gamers love in Dubai, which again, can be very different to what gamers in Ohio love. I guess I’m biased but I think I have the best job in the world.

A day in the life of you?
It depends on where I am. If I’m in the UK, I get up very early for the London/Tokyo crossover, break around midday, then sleep, eat and have a walk, then start again around three just as the West Coast is getting going, and slog through on Teams until supper.

By the end of the day, my eyes are bleeding from looking at a screen for too long… Face-to-face is better but that requires me to be on the West Coast or in Japan. Those trips are always energising but also exhausting.

With each year that passes, jet lag gets harder and harder to deal with. The human body simply isn’t designed to teleport across continents – anyone who thinks regular long-haul business travel is exotic and exciting is out of touch with reality!

What does downtime mean to you?
I’m away so much that downtime is spent resting and with the family. I have a serious passion for good wine and the usual good stuff, televised sports and high-end crime novels.

Lessons In Life with Jim Ryan…

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a professional football player, but I was too small, too slow and not remotely talented enough. Happily, I figured all these things out early enough so I wasn’t unduly disappointed.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
At work, I always say ‘stay humble, do your best, and enjoy yourself’. It took me many years to figure out something that is extremely simple and straightforward – I think it applies well enough to all aspects of life. I think if you live along those lines, things will end up OK over time.

What is your greatest fear?
My generation has been privileged to live in golden times. I fear that something terrible happens which screws the world up for my teenage daughters.

Which living person do you most admire and why?
I think the world is desperately short of leaders to really admire, and that’s a big concern. I must say that I find Eddie Howe to be a deeply impressive person. Humble and straightforward yet, very very smart.

Living Luxe with Jim Ryan…

Sony Interactive Entertainment

What is top of your bucket list?
I would love to be in the stadium when NUFC wins the Champions League. I think this will happen within the next ten years.

What is your most treasured possession?
I’m fortunate enough not to care in the slightest about material possessions. Cars and clothes don’t interest me in the slightest and entertainment is all digital now. I have an old watch that was my dad’s which I value hugely for sentimental reasons.

What does the weekend mean to you and what is your most memorable holiday?
Weekends mean sleep, no work, and really good food and wine. We have a place in France in the Roussillon where most holidays are spent. I love it down there, mooching around and doing very little.

Best dress?
T-shirt and jeans, always. I wear a tie maybe twice a year and hate it. Since lockdown I’ve even started to find a collar uncomfortable – when you stand back and think about it, both the collar and the tie are absurd, unnecessary affectations.

Who would be your top-three dinner guests?
Pep Guardiola, Eddie Jones, and Brendon McCullum. That covers off the three great sports. The conversation would be brilliant, and I reckon all three enjoy a jar. I wouldn’t get a word in edgeways but who cares.

Recent Happenings…

The last place you ate?
Café 21 in Newcastle. I always go when I am in town.

The last book you read?
I am weirdly interested in The Hundred Years War, right now (I know, I know). I am ploughing through Jonathan (Lord) Sumption’s magisterial five-volume history of the period, and enjoying various bits of fiction based around it. Bernard Cornwell took time off from Sharpe to write an excellent quartet, and Dan Jones is very good. I can’t figure it out, it’s not like the English won in the end…

The last thing you listened to?
I listened to some Bach on the train back down from the Dortmund (H) game to drown out the noise of the people around me.

The last thing you watched?
I am halfway through the final season of Sex Education which is one of the best and funniest things I have seen in years.

Your three luxe things in life?
Family, fully-stocked Kindle and fully- stocked Wine Cellar.

Jim Ryan will be the keynote speaker at the North East Chamber of Commerce Presidents’ Supper, a gathering of the region’s most influential business community, at St James’ Park in December.