Sony Corp. plans to pay 1.6 billion yen in retirement allowances to Honorary Chairman Norio Ohga, who resigned as a board member in January, according to a company letter sent to shareholders by Wednesday.

Sony will seek shareholders’ endorsement of the proposal at a general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for June 20, according to the document.

“Our company would like to propose awarding the amount to reward him for his merits when he was on active duty at our company,” the letter said.

Sony has publicized the retirement allowances to board members since last year. Ohga is the only board member to retire in the business year ended March 31, making it possible to determine the retirement allowances he will receive.

Ohga, 73, who served as Sony president between 1982 and 1995, is credited with playing a key role in establishing the CD format, jointly developed with Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. of the Netherlands and introduced in 1982.

Ohga was also instrumental in facilitating Sony’s acquisition of major U.S. record company CBS Records Inc. in 1988 and Hollywood filmmaker Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc. in 1989.

Sony later renamed CBS Records Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and Columbia Pictures Sony Pictures Entertainment.

On Nov. 7, 2001, Ohga, a former classical opera singer, collapsed at the fourth Beijing Music Festival while he was conducting the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. He was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke, but later recovered and served on the board.

Ohga’s association with Sony as an adviser commenced in April 1953, the year he graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Two years after he graduated from Hochshule Fur Musik in Berlin in 1957, he was persuaded by Sony founder Akio Morita to join Sony at the expense of giving up his promising career as an opera singer.

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