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Sony CEO: Hackers Haven't Held Us Back

In September, for example, Sony announced the appointment of Philip Reitinger, a former U.S. Homeland Security and Defense Department official, as its chief information security officer.

Earlier this year, Sony told TheStreet that it is working with data forensics specialist Guidance Software (GUID) to catch the hackers who breached its PlayStation Network, as well as privately held Data Forté. The company also was working with business consultancy Protiviti, a subsidiary of Robert Half International (RHI), to clean up after the attack, it said.

Stringer, an engaging and entertaining speaker, nonetheless acknowledged that Sony has had a tough year. In addition to the hacking brouhaha and yen-related pressures, the electronics giant has faced the Japanese tsunami, and, more recently, floods in Thailand.

"The queen said she had a year called her 'annus horribilis,' and I sympathize," quipped the Sony chief. He paid tribute to the company's staff, particularly in Japan, where about a dozen factories were struck by this year's earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

"We did a wonderful job of repairing the damage from the earthquakes," explained the CEO. "The way [our employees] responded and organized themselves was astounding."

One factory in Sendai, he added, was under 10 feet of water, so the company's engineers constructed a makeshift boat out of packaging materials, which they used to help rescue people.

Nonetheless, Stringer, a British-born Vietnam veteran, has a big job on his hands wooing investors who have fled Sony in droves during recent months, pushing the company's stock down almost 50% this year.

There also have been rumors swirling about Stringer's future. Earlier this month, the New York Post reported that Stringer was preparing to step down in March at the end of the firm's fiscal year.

The CEO, however, nixed this possibility on Thursday. "No, I am not leaving the job," he said, in response to a question. "I am fighting, I am up for this fight."

--Written by James Rogers in New York

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