Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer Announces Retirement


TOKYO: Howard Stringer, who fought to bring a divided and struggling Sony Corporation together as the company’s first foreign president, is retiring as chairman in June.

Stringer, the company’s former chief executive and president, shared the news during a speech to the Japan Society in New York, where he told the audience that he would dedicate his time on new endeavours including charity work.

Sony, in Tokyo confirmed the news recently. Stringer will step down at an annual general shareholders meeting.

Stringer has worked with Sony for the past 15 years and became president in 2005, right around the time when the iconic Walkman portable media device was starting to get pressure from Apple’s iPod. The company, which makes the ‘PlayStation 3’ game console as well as ‘Spider-Man’ movies, is still struggling. It has been facing financial losses for the last four years and has recorded the biggest loss in its 67-year history for the fiscal year ending in March 2012.

Howard Stringer said that he was ready to retire after turning over the helm last year to Kazuo Hirai. Stringer groomed Hirai for the position, as he saw potential in the head of Sony’s highly successful video-game unit. He believed that it was the right time to bring generational change to the company and believes Hirai has led Sony “with vision and authority” in the past year.

“I was pleased to hand the reins to Kazuo Hirai last year because I saw in him the right mix of skills to lead Sony, and I knew it was the right time to bring about generational change,” Stringer was heard saying in the speech. “Over the course of the past year, he has come into his own and is leading Sony with vision and authority.”

Howard Stringer also revealed that he will be busy with charity work in education and medicine, and will continue as Chairman of the American Film Institute.