Sony’s Howard Stringer: I took my name off the BBC list

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Howard Stringer, the charismatic 68-year-old chairman of Sony Corp., on Thursday dismissed speculation that he was a candidate to head up the BBC.

‘I told them to take my name off the list,’ Stringer half-jokingly told reporters during a meeting with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. ‘And it’s still on the list. I don’t know why.’

After nearly six years heading up the sprawling Japanese media and technology company, many are wondering what the Emmy-award winning former CBS newsman will do when he eventually leaves Sony. Stringer seemed to indicate to reporters at CES that he wasn’t finished with Sony, yet.

‘I’m still very excited about what we’re doing here,’ Stringer said. ‘For me, this is a culmination of a dream that started five years ago. The integration of electronics and content is something I’ve believed in for a long time. I feel this is a moment when I can enjoy being right. I’m feeling pretty good about it.’


When Stringer took the helm of Sony in 2005, he vowed to force Sony’s electronics divisions to work more closely with the company’s entertainment units, including Sony’s music label and its movie studio. Only in recent years, however, have his plans come to bear fruit. One recent example is the company’s music subscription service, which will launch in the U.S. on Sony’s Bravia Internet-connected televisions and PlayStation 3 game consoles later this year.

Stringer’s comment appears to put to rest another long-standing speculation that the company may spin off its entertainment properties to focus purely on electronics.

‘Content and technology go around like the wheels of a car,’ Stringer said to reporters, referring to the tight collaboration he wants to see between Sony’s electronics and entertainment divisions. ‘I’ve always believed that.’

The upshot: As long as Stringer’s in control, Sony will continue to remain the bulky, complex company it is today, with Stringer cajoling its disparate parts to all get along and deliver on his dream of connected entertainment.

Whether that will be the case when he eventually retires from Sony will depend on who is selected to be Stringer’s heir.

-- Alex Pham