A documentary producer, Stringer had risen through the ranks of CBS to become president of the CBS Broadcast group in 1988. Just how successful the network was during this era, and who deserves the credit, could be the subject of a doctoral thesis. But Stringer was already putting his formidable social skills to use. "He is so smooth" says an executive who ran a rival network at the time, I always called him the "vice-president, dinner". to his detractors inside and outside Sony, Stringer's primary success has been managing his own relationship with his bosses....In 1995, Stringer's friend Michael Ovitz persuaded him to run Tele-TV, a joint venture formed by 3 phone companies to generate programming that would be transmitted over phone lines. The venture was an abject failure, and in 1997 Stringer made the swith to Sony. He had no experience in electronics, and until Sony came a calling, he had never visited Japan. But he was charming and polished. He put an appealing face on Sony's American operations. ....also put his brother in power there. He is vice-chairman of the company, holding the highest rank of any non-Japanese in the company's history. Michael Lynton "soft spoken and affable, he made many more friends than enemies during his earlier stay. But insiders are finding it hard to figure out what qualifies him to do ...whatever it is he's supposed to do at Sony. ,,, Sony paid a king's ranson to hire flimflam men Peter Guber and Jon Peters to run the studio. The two did a fine remodeling job but ran the studio into a $3.2B writedown. ...In 1996, Sony chairman Nobuyuki Idei opted for safety by bringing in veteran John Calley to run the studio. Calley's elegance of demeanor and intellect must have been soothing indeed. Calley installed Amy Pascal as president of Columbia Pictures. For a time, it looked as though she wouldn't survive a series of bombs. Yet in 99, Calley promoted her to chairman of Columbia, where, her duties apparently do not include cost control: the cost of this summer's Spiderman installment was over $200M. As one producer put it: "Everyone knows she's not great at watching a buck. It's not her stregnth; it's not her interest." As for Lynton, he is described as "a charming consensus seeker, with a formidable Rolodex, a consummate manager of his own career. As for Stringer's corp strategy, that is described as "It's a lot of elegant talk, a lot of lovely, very British talk,. There question is, is there a there there?

— social skills in big corps, about Sony America CEO Howard Stringer  

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