Outgoing Sony CEO Howard Stringer says much of big losses out of his control

The Sony CEO has his company on track for nearly US$3 billion in losses this year, its fourth straight year in the red

Sony CEO Howard Stringer, who will step down at the end of March, said Thursday that much of his company's losses were due to circumstances outside of his control and he is confident the company will get back on track.

Stringer's comments came at a press conference in Tokyo following the company's third-quarter earnings, in which Sony said it now forecasts nearly US$3 billion in losses for the fiscal year through March. On Wednesday the company announced he would step down at the end of the period, to be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, the executive who currently heads Sony's core consumer products division.

"It would be nice if there were no earthquakes, no floods, no hackers, no anything, but on our own skills, we can get the company back to the targets we've already issued," Howard said after repeated questions from reporters about his legacy.

"When we do come back, I'll come back to this press conference and address one or two of you reporters again."

Stringer served for seven years as the head of Sony, which is on track for its fourth straight year of losses.

Hirai, who will take over in April, outlined a turnaround plan for the company and said he would not abandon loss-making products like TVs, which he considers central to Sony's consumer strategy.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service

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