'A NEW WORLD AT SONY'
Nov. 17, 1997
The invitation said casual, although the occasion was anything but: dinner at the media moguls' summit, an annual gathering at which financier Herb Allen played host at his Sun Valley digs. Nobuyuki Idei was late and tired, and since he was still wearing a suit, he looked like the carbon-copy Japanese manager that Hollywood had taken to the cleaners in recent years. So the Sony Corp. president doffed his jacket and donned a Men in Black T shirt for his big entrance. "Just a little marketing gimmick," jokes Idei. "But the guests congratulated us." Idei got hoots of approval for Sony Pictures Entertainment's biggest film of the year from the likes of Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Intel boss Andy Grove, Seagram's Edgar Bronfman Jr., Time Warner's Jerry Levin and DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg, to name a few.
Idei, 59, is the first Japanese to crack this exclusive club, a symbolism not lost on Howard Stringer, president of Sony's U.S. subsidiary. "He is a player," exults Stringer, the former CBS network boss brought in by Sony to clean up the mess at its U.S. operation. "He is young, dynamic, and he is taken seriously by this crowd. It's in the ether now."