The pioneer of the compact disc (CD) Norio Ohga has died aged 81 of multiple organ failure in the Japanese capital Tokyo. Mr Ohga was president and chairman of Sony between 1982 and 1995. He is credited with pioneering the use of the CD. Sony sold the world's first CD in 1982. Mr Ohga was responsible for its size. He recommended a disc should be 12 cm in diameter because it contained enough space to store Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which is 75 minutes long. The size of CDs have remained unchanged since and became the format for DVDs. CD sales in Japan overtook record sales within five years of their introduction. Ohga was an avid music enthusiast and studied to become an opera singer in his youth.
Sony's current chairman, Sir Howard Stringer, paid tribute to Mr Ohga's leadership and vision. He said the former chairman transformed Sony from a company that sold radios and electronics into a global entertainment giant. Ohga rose through the Sony ranks at a speed highly unusual for a Japanese company and was an executive by his 30s. Ohga moved Sony into new directions, making them an international player. He was key in the purchase of Hollywood studio Colombia Pictures and the record company CBS. He also oversaw the launch of Sony's highly successful PlayStation game console. Mr Stringer said: "By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed."