Can Sony Rise Again?

Here's how Sir Howard Stringer plans to shake up one of Japan's toughest corporate cultures

One of Howard Stringer's greatest strengths, say those who know him, is his ability to thrive in alien, even potentially inhospitable cultures. Welcome to Tokyo, Sir Howard. You will need every ounce of your intercultural sensitivity to thrive in your new post, CEO of Japan's struggling Sony Corp. During a capacity-crowd press conference last week in Tokyo, outgoing Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei, 67, announced that he was voluntarily stepping down after almost five years and that Stringer, 63, rather than one of a number of oft mentioned Japanese heirs apparent, was replacing him.

The announcement hit Japan like an earthquake. Stringer...

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