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Stringer to Replace Idei as Sony CEO

Mar 7, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Sony Corp. on Monday named Sir Howard Stringer chairman and CEO of the consumer electronics giant, tasking the executive responsible for one of Sony’s better-performing businesses with the job of jump-starting a company that has stalled in recent years.

Mr. Stringer, 63, replaces Nobuyuki Idei, who held the CEO post for 10 years but has come under fire in recent years as the company’s electronics unit has struggled against nimbler rivals. Mr. Stringer’s appointment requires shareholder approval, which is expected to come in June.

The move is notable on several levels. Mr. Stringer, born in Wales but a U.S. citizen since 1985, joins a small club of foreign-born executives running Japanese companies. In addition, Mr. Stringer, a former CBS executive, has no engineering background, unlike Sony’s previous chief executives. Sony said Mr. Stringer, who speaks no Japanese, will manage the company from both New York and Tokyo, where Sony is based.

In addition to the resignation of Mr. Idei, Sony said President Kunitake Ando is stepping down and will be replaced by Ryoji Chubachi, a Sony executive.

Mr. Stringer joined Sony in 1997 as president of its United States operations and was later promoted to vice chairman. He is widely credited with having turned around the company’s U.S.-based music and film businesses by streamlining them and cutting hundreds of jobs. Most recently, Mr. Stringer convinced his Japanese bosses to buy into a consortium that will acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $5 billion.

Prior to joining Sony, Mr. Stringer spent two years at Tele-TV, a failed attempt by the telephone companies to deliver video to consumers. Before that, he was president of CBS News from 1986 to 1988 and then president of CBS from 1988 to 1995.