Howard Stringer

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Howard Stringer
Stringer at opening night of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera
Born (1942-02-19) 19 February 1942 (age 82)
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
EducationUniversity of Oxford
Alma materMerton College, Oxford[1][2]
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
OccupationNon-executive director of the BBC
SpouseJennifer A. Kinmond Patterson
FamilyRob Stringer (brother)
Military career
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1965–1967
Battles/warsVietnam War

Sir Howard Stringer (born 19 February 1942) is a Welsh-American businessman. He had a 30-year career at CBS, culminating in him serving as the president of CBS News from 1986 to 1988, then president of CBS from 1988 to 1995. He served as chairman of the board, chairman, president and CEO of Sony Corporation from 2005 to 2012.[3] He is also the head of the board of trustees of the American Film Institute and now serves as a non-executive director of the BBC. He was knighted in 1999.

Early life[edit]

Stringer was born in Cardiff, Wales, the son of Marjorie Mary (née Pook), a Welsh schoolteacher, and Harry Stringer, a sergeant in the Royal Air Force.[4]

His younger brother, Rob Stringer, was president of Sony Music Label Group.[5]

Stringer attended 11 secondary schools by the time he was 16, including Oundle School in Northamptonshire.[1][dubious ] He received a Master of Arts from the University of Oxford in Modern History.[6]


Stringer moved to the United States in 1965. After working at CBS's flagship station WCBS-TV for six weeks, he was drafted into the United States Army, and served as a military policeman in Saigon for ten months in the Vietnam War.[7][8][9][10] He did not serve in combat, but was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious achievement.

Stringer returned to CBS, where he had a 30-year career. He started in a series of lowly jobs, including answering backstage phones for The Ed Sullivan Show.[11] In 1976, he became executive producer of the documentary series CBS Reports.[12] Then, from 1981 to 1984, he was executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.[12] In 1986, he became president of CBS News as a whole.[12] He then served as president of CBS from 1988 to 1995, where he was responsible for all the broadcast activities of its entertainment, news, sports, radio and television stations.[6] During Stringer's tenure, CBS gained the services of David Letterman with his Late Show but also lost National Football League rights to the upstart Fox Broadcasting Company, leading several CBS affiliates to align with the latter.[13]


Howard Stringer in 2008

Stringer left CBS in 1995 to become CEO of Tele-TV, a newly created media and technology company formed by US telecoms Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and Pacific Telesis, as well as Creative Artists Agency. Tele-TV represented an early attempt at a video on demand service, which streamed content over the phone network. The company was unsuccessful, and shut down most of its operations in early 1997, after having spent roughly $500 million. Stringer left at that time.[14][15]


Stringer began work at Sony in May 1997 as president of its US operational unit (Sony Corporation of America). He was made a Sony group executive officer in May 1998.[14]

Since 22 June 2005, he served as Chairman of Sony, overseeing businesses such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Financial Holdings, succeeding Nobuyuki Idei.[16] On 1 April 2009, he became president of Sony Corporation and ousted Ryoji Chubachi in what was seen as prelude to broader corporate restructuring.[17] Stringer also served as executive chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Corporation of America, and as president of Sony Broadband Entertainment Corporation since March 2000.[6]

Stringer was promoted to the company's top position as the corporation overall was having trouble with losses and was facing increasing competition from rivals such as Samsung, Sharp, Apple Inc. and Panasonic.[16] With his experience primarily in the media industry, Stringer was responsible for the media business of Sony in the U.S. by overseeing the release of the Spider-Man film series, among others.[18]

As CEO, Stringer's initial focus was on streamlining Sony's electronics business, such as through its Bravia TV joint venture with Samsung.[19] Stringer was instrumental in arranging Sony's investment in Spotify, which earned Sony a profit of nearly $1 billion upon Sony's partial exit in 2018.[20] Nonetheless, Sony's share price fell by 60 per cent from when Stringer assumed the role of group chairman until his resignation as CEO was announced in 2012, due in part to exchange rates and the effects of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.[21]

On 1 February 2012, Sony announced that Stringer would step down as president and CEO, effective 1 April to be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, executive deputy president and chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment.[22] Stringer relinquished his title of chairman of Sony and became chairman of the board of Sony in June ('Chairman of Sony' and 'Chairman of the Board of Directors' are separate positions at Sony). In June 2013, Stringer retired as chairman of the board of Sony.[23]

While serving as the chief of Sony in Tokyo, Stringer maintained a home in New York while his family lived in England.[19]

In a 2014 speech, Stringer expressed his frustrations with his time at Sony, saying, "Running a big company is like running a cemetery: there are thousands of people beneath you, but no one is listening. It was a bit like that at Sony." He specifically lamented that Sony had a "not invented here" mentality that did not suit an increasingly digital world, and which Stringer was unable to shake off.[24]

Awards and honours[edit]

Stringer has received the following awards and honours:[6]

He has also been honoured by Lincoln Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The New York Hall of Science and The American Theatre Wing, and has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Glamorgan in Wales and University of the Arts London.

Coat of arms of Howard Stringer

Personal life[edit]

In July 1978, Stringer married Jennifer A. Kinmond Patterson.[26][7] They have two children.

He became a naturalised American citizen in 1985.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on 31 December 1999.

In popular culture[edit]

Stringer was portrayed by Peter Jurasik in the 1996 HBO film The Late Shift, about the conflict between Jay Leno and David Letterman during Stringer's tenure at CBS in the early 1990s.

He appeared on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs in 2013.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "BBC Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs, Sir Howard Stringer".
  2. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900–1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 535.
  3. ^, Sony
  4. ^ Schindehette, Susan (5 April 1993). "Howard Stringer". People. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Sony Music Label Group U.S. gets new chief as top 2 execs resign", USA Today, 1 June 2006
  6. ^ a b c d "BusinessWeek Executive Profile: Howard Stringer". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Howard Stringer Biography (1942–)". Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  8. ^ Schindehette, Susan (5 April 1993). "Howard Stringer". People. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  9. ^ Grifiths, Katherine. "Sir Howard Stringer, US Head Of Sony: Sony's knight buys Tinseltown dream." The Independent, 18 September 2004.
  10. ^ "The Interview: Howard Stringer." The Independent, 21 March 2005.
  11. ^ Michael Eisner (28 March 2006). "Sony CEO Howard Stringer transcript". MSNBC.
  12. ^ a b c Biography for Howard StringerIMDb
  13. ^ "Kicked While It's Down". Time. 6 March 1995.
  14. ^ a b Griffiths, Katherine. "Sir Howard Stringer, US Head Of Sony: Sony's knight buys Tinseltown dream." The Independent, 18 September 2004
  15. ^ "Bells may shutter Tele-TV". CNNMoney. 6 December 1996.
  16. ^ a b Zaun, Todd (23 June 2005). "Sony's Chief Pledges to Halt Company Slide". New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  17. ^ Suzuki, Hiroshi; Kondo, Masaki (27 February 2009). "Sony's CEO Stringer Ousts Chubachi in Overhaul of Management". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  18. ^ Siklos, Richard; Fackler, Martin (28 May 2006). "Howard Stringer, Sony's Road Warrior". New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  19. ^ a b Fackler, Martin (28 May 2006). "Howard Stringer, Sony's Road Warrior". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Sony reaps rewards of Stringer legacy with $983m profit on Spotify". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  21. ^ Orzeck, Kurt (6 January 2012). "Report: Kaz Hirai to Replace Howard Stringer as Sony President". Reuters. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Sony names Kazuo Hirai as President and CEO; Sir Howard Stringer to become Chairman of the Board of Directors". Sony Corporation. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Sony chairman Sir Howard Stringer to retire". BBC News. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  24. ^ Handel, Jonathan (25 October 2014). "Ex-Sony CEO Howard Stringer on Sony's Failures and Time Inc.'s Big Challenges". The Hollywood Reporter.
  25. ^ "Merton College Oxford, benefactors' arms, 2018". Baz Manning. 15 February 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  26. ^ Diamond, Edwin (22 August 1988). "Television's New Fall Lineup: the Changing Guard at the Big Three...". New York. 21 (33). New York Media, LLC: 110. ISSN 0028-7369.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by Chairman of Sony Corporation
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Sony Corporation
2009 – March 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by CEO of Sony Corporation
2005 – March 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Board of Sony Corporation
27 June 2012 – 20 June 2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by
CEO of Sony Corporation of America
1998 – June 2012
Succeeded by