Sony Corp. shareholders on June 22 approved the appointment of Howard Stringer as the new chief executive, making him the first foreigner to head the Japanese electronics and entertainment company.

TOKYO (AP) -- Sony Corp. shareholders on June 22 approved the appointment of Howard Stringer as the new chief executive, making him the first foreigner to head the Japanese electronics and entertainment company.

A native of Wales who later acquired U.S. citizenship, Stringer has helped make Sony's music and movie business one of the company's few bright spots in recent years. He replaces Nobuyuki Idei, who led the Tokyo-based company for a decade.

The vote came at a shareholders meeting in Tokyo.

Stringer faces an enormous challenge in turning around Sony, which has been hit with losses in its consumer electronics business amid competition from cheaper Asian rivals. It has been weighed down with restructuring costs while getting beaten in key growing sectors, such as portable music players like Apple Computer's iPod.

Before joining Sony in 1997, Stringer had a 30-year career as a journalist, producer and executive at CBS. His key role at Sony would be to develop strategic links between the entertainment and electronics business, a plan that Sony has discussed for years but has never fully realized.

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