Howard Stringer will step down as chairman of Sony in June. Stringer made the announcement on Friday at a Japan Society lecture in New York, the Financial Times reports.
He'll leave to pursue "new opportunities I've been presented with lately". He didn't say what these were, but he's currently chairman of the American Film Institute.
Stringer took over as chief executive of Sony in 2005, and stepped back to become chairman of the board last year. Kaz Hirai, who succeeded him as chief executive, praised Stringer's "incomparable ability to inspire and invigorate all of those around him." Hirai said Stringer had moved Sony's focus away from standalone hardware to networked devices, and restructured to cut costs, allowing the company "to form the foundation to overcome huge challenges."
Huge challenges indeed. Sony has struggled to adjust to a changing tech landscape focussed more on software and social networking, instead of hardware being king. Last May, the company posted a record loss, with revenue taking a tumble. At the tail end of 2011, it took over Sony Ericsson for £918 million, and started pumping out Sony-branded smart phones. And they have got noticeably better, with the Xperia Z widely agreed to be the best handset the company has made.
Stringer came from Sony's entertainment arm. In his speech, he pointed to the company's film, television and music businesses as "models of stable and innovative leadership and consistently profitable." Kaz Hirai has denied he'd consider selling these divisions.
Sony's next big product will be the PS4. It's teased us with a glimpse of some games, but has so far kept the hardware under wraps. That's because the design isn't finalised yet. Microsoft is said to be unveiling its Xbox 720 in April -- I reckon Sony will want to get the jump on it and show off its next-gen console first.
What do you think of Sony lately? Has it reinvented itself, or is it a tech dinosaur? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.