Sony's board chairman and ex-CEO Stringer to retire

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Sony Corp's board chairman Howard Stringer, who headed the company as chief executive for six years until last April, will retire from Japan's struggling consumer electronics giant in June, the Financial Times reported.

The departure of Stringer, who last year handed the top post to Mr Kazuo Hirai, would officially mark an end to a period in which Sony, under Mr Stringer, struggled to revive its creative edge and ceded ground to rivals such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

Mr Stringer, once a rare foreign CEO at a top Japanese company, said his retirement would let him pursue "new opportunities", the Financial Times quoted him as telling a Japan Society lecture in New York on Friday.

He will step down at a shareholders' meeting in June, the paper said. Sony could not be reached for comment immediately.

Mr Stringer, a Welshman and a former journalist who later ran US broadcaster CBS, became Sony's CEO in 2005. He is known for cost cuts and restructuring but the company was unable to make game-changer products while he was at the helm.

The current CEO Hirai is doubling down on consumer electronics with a focus on mobile phones, tablets and gaming, while shedding non-core assets in a bid to revive Sony criticised as having lost its creative edge.

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