Former Sony president and chairman Norio Ohga passes away at age 81

By Stephany Nunneley, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:32 GMT

Reuters reported over the weekend that former Sony president and chairman Norio Ohga had passed away at the age of 81 of multiple organ failure.

The former opera singer joined Sony during the 1950s and later pushed the company into movies and videogames, and headed the company between 1982 and 1995, and remained a senior adviser to the firm until his death on Saturday, April 23. .

Ohga oversaw the $3.4 billion purchase of Columbia Pictures in 1989, and is credited with the push to compact disc and getting Sony involved in the music business through the purchase of CBS Records.

He also oversaw Sony’s expansion into the videogame industry and the release of the first PlayStation system.

“It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony’s evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and games, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san’s foresight and vision,” commented Howard Stinger, chairman, president and CEO of Sony since 2005.

Ohga graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and studied at the Berlin University of the Arts. He was also president of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and a vice chairman of athe Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, a lobbyist organization for businesses.

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