Sony’s Norio Ohga passed away on April 23 at 81 years of age from multiple organ failure. Ohga is perhaps best known for driving the development of the compact disc, which Sony first released back in 1982.
While studying music at a Tokyo university in 1953, Ohga was hired as a consultant by Sony thanks to his “expert knowledge of sound and electrical engineering.” Sony hired Ohga full time in 1959.
Ohga is credited with standardizing the size of the compact disc at 12 centimeters and 75 minutes in length.
Interestingly, this was done in the interest of “providing sufficient recording capacity at 75 minutes to enable listeners to enjoy all of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony without interruption,” according to Sony. The same 12-centimeter, 75-minute specifications are still used for CDs today.
Ohga served as Sony’s president from 1982 to 1989, then as CEO from 1989 to 1999. He served as Chairman until 2003 before being named as Honorary Chairman after fully retiring.