Wed, 09 Mar 2005

From: Jawawa

Sony's new tune

Sony, arguably Japan's most iconic brand, is turning to an American chief executive, Howard Stringer, to lead the company. Blame Sony's desperation on the iPod, Apple's hot digital music player that has single-handedly destroyed Sony's reputation as the world's foremost consumer electronics innovator.

Carlos Ghosn, the acclaimed Brazilian chief executive credited with turning Nissan around, helped pave the way for another foreign CEO, a potential trend urgently needed in insular Japanese corporate culture.

The other seismic aspect to Stringer's ascension to the top of Sony Corp. is not that he's a Westerner who doesn't speak Japanese but that he's not an engineer. Stringer helped revive Sony of America's moribund music and movie businesses, and earlier spent decades as an executive at CBS, so he's more in tune with David Letterman and Spider-Man than the technology inside Sony Walkmans, VCRs, CD players and PlayStations.

Stringer's elevation seems to signal a profound choice by Sony to see entertainment as its future, possibly at the expense of the consumer electronics empire that became a symbol of postwar Japan's resurgence.

-- Los Angeles Times