Sony Chairman, ex-CEO Howard Stringer to quit

The Sony executive said he will pursue 'new opportunities' that he's recently received

Sony Chairman and former CEO Howard Stringer, who has been at the company since 1997, will be leaving the company in June.

Stringer led Sony for seven years, facing harsh criticism as losses mounted before he was replaced last year. Speaking at an event at the Japan Society in New York on Friday, the executive said he would be leaving for a new offer, without divulging details.

"A new world is opening up for me, too, one that allows me to complete my plan to retire from Sony, which I expect to do at the conclusion of my term later this year.  That will allow me to move forward with new opportunities Ive been presented with lately," he said, according to a script of his comments provided to IDG News Service by Sony.

Stringer moved to become chairman of Sony in June of last year. He was replaced by current Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, who issued a statement thanking his predecessor. Like Stringer before him, Hirai has implemented broad restructuring and job cuts to stem the company's losses.

"During the past year, he continued to provide me and the new management team with his invaluable support and insights as Chairman of the Board, on issues ranging from structural reorganization to strategic investment and M&A," Hirai said.

Stringer, the British-born former president of CBS who was knighted in 2000, joined Sony in 1997. He oversaw the cutting of about 10,000 jobs and slashed numerous product companies, while also selling off company assets to raise cash and closing factories.

The selection of a foreigner to lead a beloved Japanese company like Sony was seen as controversial domestically, and Stringer, who split his time between Japan, the US and UK, was sometimes criticized by local media and shareholders for not spending enough time in Tokyo.

Sony has stuck to its target for a small profit this fiscal year through March under Hirai, despite disappointing sales during the holiday season in key products like PlayStation game consoles. The company has recently sold off a string of pricey assets, including its New York headquarters, a large building complex in Tokyo and stock holdings

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service

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