Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman of Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) will retire from the Japanese technology giant in June. Stringer became the first foreign executive to chair the company in 2005. Sir Howard is expected to formally leave his position at an annual shareholders’ meeting in June.
Stringer managed the company in its most challenging phase when the firm was implementing its re-structuring plans and slashing costs, Sony was also lagging behind in competition with other mighty brands such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930).
The 71-year-old spent 15 years at Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE), following a 30-year career at US broadcaster CBS. Sir Howard, knighted in 2000, came to the US in the 1960s, and has a dual citizenship of the UK and the US.
During a speech to Japan society in New York, he announced his plans to retire.
"A new world is opening up for me... 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" he said. "That will allow me to move forward with new opportunities I've been presented with lately."
Kazuo Hirai was appointed the new chief executive in April last year. Hirai, who has been the head of Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE)’s video game unit for a long now, praised Sir Howards "unwavering dedication and leadership".
However, many raised questions over the performance of Mr. Stringer during the period when the company was deep in record losses. The Play station maker has lost money for the past four years, but recorded its biggest loss ever in 2011-12 financial years.
A three year turnaround plan was put in place by Sir Howard in 2009, which he said will reform the business and will ensure better coordination between the firm’s diverse divisions. He slashed thousands of jobs and put an end to unprofitable projects.
Mr. Hirai, the successor of Sir Howard, will follow similar steps and strategies laid down by Sir Howard. Mr. Hirai spoke about his vision and how he wanted to push the company in terms of its electronic portfolio.
“The foundations are now firmly in place for the new management team and me to fully leverage Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE)’s diverse electronics portfolio, in conjunction with our rich entertainment assets and growing array of networked services, to engage with our customers around the world in new and exciting ways”.
The change in management coincides with the much awaited arrival of Sony's next generation of consoles and this should capture the attention of PlayStation users.