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Former Sony Head Norio Ohga Passes Away

Former Sony chairman and CEO Norio Ohga, hailed as the father of the compact disc, died at the age of 81 on Saturday.

Ohga joined Sony as an advisor in 1953, when the company was still called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo and then went on to become president in 1980 and CEO in 1989.

The pioneer, who was trained in classical music, helped Sony branch out into software and hardware business lines and beyond. He oversaw the development of the iconic compact audio disc and helped Sony launched its first portable audio CD player. The compact disc paved the way for other disc media, including DVD and Blu-Ray technology.

Ohga was also intrumental in the development and launch of Sony’s Walkman line of cassette players. The man took Sony further into the entertainment and media domains, helping turn Sony into one of Japan’s largest record companies and one of the biggest movie producers through the acquisition of CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in 1988 and 1989 respectively.

"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,” said Howard Stringer, Sony’s current CEO, according to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab).