Denis Handlin leaves Sony Music after 51 years
The explosive news broke Monday morning (June 21) Australian time, closely following another report in the national press which denounced inappropriate behavior at the music major’s branch.
As stated previously, The Sydney Morning Herald detailed allegations of discrimination, bullying and harassment within Sony Music Australia. Earlier in the year, the music giant fired a veteran executive after an investigation revealed he had committed misconduct with staff, details of which were documented by the SMH.
As reported over the weekend, Sony Music has engaged an outside Australia-based counsel to handle the ongoing investigations.
Handlin was not mentioned in any of the multiples SMH articles. As its author Nathanael Cooper noted, “the publication does not suggest that Mr. Handlin is charged with wrongdoing or is implicated or implicated in any of the allegations under investigation.”
Still, Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer has decided to make some changes.
“I am writing to inform you that Denis Handlin will be leaving Sony Music Entertainment after more than 50 years with the company, effective immediately,” reads Stringer’s statement, seen by Billboard.
“It’s time to change direction. And I will make further announcements regarding the new direction of our business in Australia and New Zealand in due course. “
Handlin’s epic career with Sony Music (then the Australian Record Company) began in May 1970 in the Distribution division in Brisbane. In 1976 he moved to the head office in Sydney, where he held a number of managerial positions, including that of National Director of Promotions, Director of Marketing and General Manager, Marketing and Sales.
Over time, Handlin has been recognized for his service on several occasions, including the ARIA Icon Award, the Ted Albert Award, and he has been honored twice by the Queen, as a Member of the Order of Australia. (AM) in 2005 and the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2017. The Australian executive is regularly featured in Billboard International Power Players Profile.
While guiding ANZ Company, Handlin has signed and delivered a long list of global success stories, from Men at Work to Midnight Oil, Silverchair, John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite, Tina Arena, Delta Goodrem, Human Nature, and most recently, Tones And I.
In addition, Handlin created and led Sony Music’s business in the Asia-Pacific region and oversaw its expansion there. In September 2010, he added responsibilities as President, South East Asia and Korea, which included managing the day-to-day operations of the Asian regional office located in Hong Kong. The following year he was appointed President, Asia. In the years that followed, Handlin was instrumental in the company’s joint venture label with Tencent Music, Liquid State, and he was the driving force behind the launch of the new headquarters in Beijing.
As part of a structural overhaul in early 2020, Handlin was released from his duties for the Asia-Pacific region, to focus on local activities as Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Australia and New Zealand.
“My team and I will be talking about this process in more detail to your team leaders throughout the week, but at this point I wanted to let everyone know about this news at the same time,” Stringer’s statement continued.
“We thank Denis for his extraordinary contribution to society and its artists during his long career in the Australian and New Zealand music industry.”
Sony Music representatives did not comment.
Handlin celebrated his 50th birthday with Sony Music on May 8, 2020. Due to the pandemic, the celebrations have been suspended. A special fundraising anniversary function was scheduled to take place on Friday, May 7, 2021 at ICC Sydney, though fear of COVID-19 in the city forced those plans to be put on hold.
Handlin is one of the founding directors of the Sony Foundation Australia, which was established in 1998 and has raised over AU $ 36 million for youth-focused causes, and has been President of ARIA since September 2010, his second passage to this post.