Norio Ohga, former President of Sony and a crucial player in developing and marketing the compact disc, died Saturday at age 81. He died of multiple organ failures.
When Ohga was still a music student, he worked as a consultant for the company that would become Sony. He officially joined the company in 1959. As he rose in the company, he drove growth in the movie, video game and music sectors.
Ohga is most famous for spearheading and developing compact disc technology. His music background inspired the 12-centimeter CD format, which allows for an entire symphony of data on a single disc. The format, introduced in 1982, is still used today.
Ohga also launched Sony’s company’s video game sector, and was president when it bought Columbia Pictures in 1989. His leadership and innovations were crucial in making Sony the multimedia business heavyweight it is today.
“Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed,” Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer said in a statement, “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. I offer my deepest condolences on his passing and pray that he may rest in peace.”