Howard Stringer

Chairman and CEO, Sony Corp.

Impact: If there’s one man who understands the promises and challenges of convergence, it’s Stringer.

With some of the world’s best-known technology and media brands under his purview, the head of Sony Corp. has an immense challenge trying to get all of the assets to work together in harmony as part of his “Sony United” strategy, which he touted at CES last year.

From Sony Ericcson’s Bravia phone to Sony Online Entertainment’s work with Sony Computer Entertainment to create the PlayStation Network, Stringer proudly points to a number of new cross-business partnerships forged under his watch. And he’s planning to show them all off at CES this year, where just about every division of the company, even Sony Pictures TV, will have a presence.

He’s particularly proud to have electronics, the core of Sony and its biggest financial contributor, back on track and is hoping to make a big splash at CES with its ultra-thin OLED TV line.

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Two initiatives define Stringer’s “Sony United.” The Blu-ray hi-def DVD format had a solid 2007, with movie sales easily besting those of HD DVD. News wasn’t as good for PlayStation 3 vidgame console, which continued to struggle until two consecutive price cuts, along with several well-regarded games, provided a boost late in the year.

POV: “Sony is uniquely positioned to benefit from the shift from standard to high-definition,” Stringer says. “We have products in every part of the high-definition value chain, from content creation and distribution (to) consumer devices such as Blu-ray players and PS3, displays such as our Bravia HDTVs and professional high-definition broadcast equipment.”