Sony chairman Howard Stringer, who was the first foreign president of the electronic giant, has announced his retirement scheduled in June. Howard Stringer is quitting his position as chairman to focus on his role as a board member of companies in the education and healthcare sectors and would continue as chairman of the American Film Institute. The announcement of his departure came last week during a speech at the Japan Society in New York. Sony is planning to name his successor at its June shareholders meeting.
Howard Stringer, a Welsh-born American and 15-year employee at Sony, became president and chief executive in 2005, when the once glorious maker of the Walkman music player was starting to get overwhelmed by the flashier Apple and the nimbler Samsung Electronics. Sony, the maker of PlayStation 3 game console as well as “Spider-Man” movies, has lost money for the last four years and recorded the biggest loss in its 67-year history for the fiscal year ending in March 2012.
The 71-year-old outgoing chairman said he was ready to retire after turning over the helm last year to Kazuo Hirai. Howard Stringer groomed Kazuo Hirai, longtime head of Sony’s video-game unit, who led its relative success as a brand in the American market, to be his successor as chief and president.
Prior to joining Sony in 1997, Howard Stringer worked as a journalist for 30 years. He became a producer and executive at CBS. His main role was considered to be developing strategic links between the entertainment and electronics business, a plan Sony has pursued for years but still remains partially realised. Sony has recently introduced smartphones and other products to good reviews. But it is still losing money in its core television-manufacturing unit.