It is with great sadness that Sony Corporation has announced the loss of Norio Ohga, Senior Advisor and former President and Chairman, Sony Corporation.
Mr. Ohga passed away on April 23, 2011 in Tokyo due to multiple organ failure at the age of 81.
A private wake will be held among family and close relatives, and a company service will take place at a later date.
Commenting on today’s loss, Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation said, “When I first joined Sony in 1997, Ohga-san was serving on the frontlines of Sony management as Chairman and CEO.”
“His numerous and successful endeavors were well-known both inside and outside of Sony. Witnessing Ohga-san’s leadership firsthand was truly an honor, and one I continued to enjoy and benefit from in countless ways in the years that followed.”
“By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed.”
“It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony’s evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and game, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san’s foresight and vision.”
“I offer my deepest condolences on his passing and pray that he may rest in peace.”
Mr. Ohga was a student at the Faculty of Music of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) when he first met Sony founders Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita.
Sony’s founders sensed in Mr. Ohga the makings of a leader, and someone whose expert knowledge of sound and electrical engineering would benefit the company greatly. Therefore, in 1953, while still a student, Mr. Ohga was appointed a consultant and advisor to Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (now Sony Corporation) before fully entering the Company in 1959.
After joining Sony, Mr. Ohga worked to enhance product quality, functionality and design, while also revolutionizing the Company’s marketing and advertising initiatives, paving the way for the launch of a succession of innovative and game-changing products.
Mr. Ohga passionately advocated the creation of products that would be “attractive in the eyes of consumers”, a philosophy that came to represent the principles of Sony’s approach to design and engineering, and was key to the Company’s worldwide success and growth.
Mr. Ohga, together with Mr. Morita, shared a deep understanding of the importance of brand management, and together they took every opportunity to remind employees to think first and act later, emphasizing that every one of their decisions had an impact on the Sony brand.
One of Mr. Ohga’s favorite expressions was, “The four letters of the ‘SONY’ brand are our greatest asset.” His efforts to spread the spirit of that message among every Sony employee were critical to enabling Sony to become the globally recognized brand it is today.
Mr. Ohga was also a man of vision and foresight. Anticipating the future potential of compact optical disc formats, he personally drove Sony’s initiatives to explore this new frontier.