Inspiring Stories
6-Nobuyuki Idei

Nobuyuki Idei

Class of 1962
Founder, Quantum Leaps Corporation
CEO, Sony Group (2000-2005)

Nobuyuki Idei graduated from Waseda University and soon after, he joined the Sony Corporation in 1960. Two years after joining the company, he took a leave of absence to study at the Geneva Graduate Institute under Professor and economic theorist, Wilhelm Röpke. Once he returned to Sony, he was stationed in Europe in 1963 and led the establishment of Sony France S.A.

In 1995, after holding management positions in Sony’s audio and home video businesses, advertising, creative and communications divisions, Idei was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony in 1995, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2000. In 1998, he was named “Asia’s Businessman of the Year” by Fortune magazine and was awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French government.

During his tenure, Idei moved Sony into the digital age by creating a vision where audio, visual, computer and telecommunication technologies would be seamlessly merged and connected with software content and services, much like the Internet we know today. Under the vision of “Digital Dream Kids”, he promoted Sony’s digital network business and accelerated the global expansion of the group’s diverse businesses, from products like the VAIO personal computer and the entertainment robot AIBO to the video game business via the PlayStation, and the entertainment empire that includes Sony Music and Sony Pictures. 

Owing to his technological knowledge and management capability, Idei was appointed as Chairman to lead the Japanese government IT Strategy Council in 2000. His effort contributed to the development of the internet environment in Japan. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Japan Business Federation, commonly referred to as KEIDANREN, from 2003 to 2007. 

After leaving Sony Corporation, Idei founded Quantum Leaps Corporation, an executive advisory company he established in 2006. Quantum Leaps aims to enhance Japan’s competitiveness by supporting corporate transformation and creating an open platform to nurture technology-driven venture companies. In 2019, Idei launched a project called “Adventure Village” with the goal to revitalise Japan through activities that support and motivate the Japanese venture companies to be more “adventurous”. 

Due to his concrete and exhaustive knowledge and experience in global corporate management, Idei took part in many companies' boards such as Nestlé, General Motors, Lenovo, Accenture, Baidu, Monex and FreeBit. He was a member of Tsinghua University SEM’s Advisory Board, CEIBS International’s Advisory Board and Chairman of the Waseda University Board of Trustees.