Nobuyuki Idei, former chief executive officer of Sony Group Corp., has died of liver failure. He was 84.

Idei, who joined the company in 1960 and served as CEO from 1998 to 2005, died Thursday in Tokyo, the company said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"Idei was surely a visionary leader who was able to make management decisions looking 20 to 30 years into the future,” said Atsushi Osanai, a professor at Waseda Business School, who once worked in Sony’s television business.

Idei held leadership roles in Sony’s audio, home video and creative communication divisions, according to the statement. During his stint as CEO, Sony advanced its PlayStation gaming business and introduced the second-generation of the console that has since become the company’s most important product line.

Idei joined Sony in 1960 and served as CEO from 1998 to 2005. | Bloomberg
Idei joined Sony in 1960 and served as CEO from 1998 to 2005. | Bloomberg

The former CEO was once synonymous with the rise of corporate Japan around the world. He started his own consultancy after retiring, Quantum Leaps Corp., focusing on finding and financing promising corporations and tech projects. He was also a member of the General Motors Co. and Baidu Inc. boards.

"During his seven years as CEO from 1998, Mr. Idei made an immense contribution to Sony’s evolution as a global company,” current Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said in the statement.

Yoshida served as a general manager under Idei’s leadership for two years during that period and credits the former chief for inspiring his own career.

"The experiences and learning I gained there were a turning point in my career and life, and in many ways connect directly to my management of Sony today,” he said.