The Leadership of Howard Stringer

Howard Stringer, the CEO of Sony, has already had his hands full trying to return Sony to profitability this year with buyouts, attracting investors, and marketing Sony as the one-stop station for entertainment. But now he is doing far more by being one of the most powerful men in entertainment.

Sony’s shareholders approved the restructuring of the management of the company that will effectively add leverage to the stripes of Stringer’s chairman and CEO titles at the Japanese entertainment and electronics giant.

Stringer, 67, is tackling a steep downturn in Sony’s core electronics business, which includes sales in TVs, cell phones, Walkman music players, Vaio computers, and other hardware like the PlayStation 3. The electronics slump led to the company’s first fiscal year loss in 14 years. Also, a downturn in consumer spending for each brand means less profit for Sony.

On Friday, Stringer told a room of 8,300 shareholders in Tokyo that he’s focused on bringing together Sony’s movie, TV, music, videogame, and businesses to develop more products and services for the digital age. We understand already that Sony is competing for a contract that allows films to be published through a specialized digital format through Internet purchases; they also want to expand their blu-ray brand. This will make Sony a premium brand in digital publishing for movies in the future and will revolutionize how people watch movies across the world.

“We’re working on profit recovery and growth strategy. That’s what we’re committed to,” Stringer said. This will include adding wireless connectivity to its devices; rivals such as Apple and Samsung have already benefited from implementing such a change. Sony wants to channel its products in the same direction as Apple in terms of the ‘I’ product range but advance it with digital media publishing. This will ensure that Sony will maintain its status as a big player in the entertainment business and leverage its market value for future products.

“In the 20th century, this company created great champion products,” Stringer told shareholders. “In the 21st century, other companies took our hardware like the Walkman and added network capability and turned it into the iPod. We are not going to be beaten again in the network age.”

Sony still needs to figure out a way to make the PlayStation 3 more of a must-have in households and keep game makers happy. An idea has come to make the PlayStation 3 an all-around media system in the home that can cover playing games, movies, internet, and downloads but updating the system when technology advances, such as playing digital media from films.

Within the movie business, Sony Picture is one of the major players in Hollywood and other film corporations around the world, such as in Asia and Europe. They have produced some of the biggest movies, such as Angels and Demons and 2012. In terms of movies, Sony has maintained its position of being a major film production company and has the budget to produce anything.

“We have not finished,” Stringer said. “We have a long way to go.” This comment shows that Sony as a global business has to work on developing new ideas and products for the market that can positively impact the entertainment business. This regime will test Stinger’s ability to lead a company out of a recession and make profits for Sony.

Becky Kim