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Stringer Named Sony Chairman; First Foreigner To Head Company

TOKYO – Howard Stringer, chairman/CEO of Sony Corporation of America, today was named chairman, group CEO and representative corporate officer of Sony Corporation, replacing Nobuyki Idei effective June 22, subject to approval by Sony Corporation’s shareholders’ meeting that day.

For the first time in the 59-year history of Sony the company will be headed by someone who is not Japanese. Stringer is a native of Wales who holds dual British and U.S. citizenship. He joined Sony in the late 1990s after spending three decades with CBS News, heading its news, sports and entertainment operations at various times. Idei has led Sony since 1995.

Reportedly Stringer’s familiarity and involvement with the entertainment business was part of the reason for his appointment, so Sony could finally realize its long-held goal of the convergence of its hardware and software businesses.

In several areas Sony, which has historically been an innovator in new CE technology, has taken it on the chin from a variety of rivals in the past several years as analog products were being replaced by the digital variety. One of the most notable cases has been Apple’s iPod which effectively replaced the Walkman as the portable audio device of choice.

Stringer will continue as head of the Entertainment Business Group and head Sony Corporation of America, according to a company statement this morning.

Ryoji Chubachi, currently corporate executive officer and executive deputy president, will now become president of Sony Corporation and CEO of the Electronics Business Group. He will have overall responsibility for Sony’s electronics business worldwide.

Katsumi Ihara, currently corporate executive officer, executive deputy president and group chief financial officer, has been named representative corporate executive officer and will oversee all financial matters.

Idei, who has led Sony for a decade, will become chief corporate advisor. Kunitake Ando, currently director, representative corporate executive officer and president, will become an advisor to Sony Corporation. Both will resign from Sony’s board effective June 22 along with Ken Kutargi, who will continue to head Sony’s PlayStation business.

(Sony Electronics is holding its annual dealer/press meeting this week in Las Vegas, showcasing its new products for 2005. Visit later this week for details on Sony’s product introductions.)