Ex-Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei Who Led Firm’s Digital Push, Dies At 84

Sony said Tuesday that Nobuyuki Idei, its former chairman and CEO who led the Japanese giant’s push into the digital network business, has died of liver failure. He was 84. Kyodo News reports: In addition to enhancing Sony’s presence in the digital and communications fields, he also focused on the entertainment business, such as movies, music and game consoles, laying the foundation for its current operations. Idei joined Sony in 1960, becoming president in 1995 and CEO in 1998. He served as both chairman and chief executive from 2000 to 2005. He stepped down as chairman and CEO amid lackluster sales in its appliance business, making headlines for naming Howard Stringer as his successor at a time when it was still rare for a Japanese company to be led by a non-Japanese CEO. Idei also contributed to the advancement of the internet environment in Japan, having been appointed to head the government’s IT strategy council in 2000. […]

Under Idei’s tenure as CEO, the conglomerate launched its Vaio-brand personal computers and domestic internet service provider So-net. It also ventured into online-based banking services and the nonlife insurance business. But after its earlier success with sales of bulky CRT televisions, Sony was slow to transition to flat screens and was outpaced amid intense competition with South Korean and other overseas rival manufacturers. Company stocks plunged in 2003 in what was referred to as the “Sony shock,” and sluggish growth for much of the following decade led Sony to focus on corporate restructuring initiatives.

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