News June 24, 2021

‘It is time for change’: Denis Handlin sends note to Sony Music Australia staff

‘It is time for change’: Denis Handlin sends note to Sony Music Australia staff

The ousted CEO and chairman of Sony Music in Australia, , has contacted his former staff, drawing attention in particular to his charity work.

Handlin was abruptly fired on Monday, with a note sent to staff from global Sony leader Rob Stringer saying it was “time for change”.

In his note to staff at 4:56pm on Monday in the wake of his dramatic departure, Handlin agreed it was time for change.

“I wanted to write to you all to say what an honour it has been to have spent over 50 years of my life at building and supporting Sony Music in Australia, New Zealand and 10 years putting Asia on a new, successful path,” he said.

“I’ve had great mentors, worked with some wonderful people throughout the company, enjoyed great friendships with the most talented artists here in Australia, New Zealand and internationally.

“After 51 years, I agreed with Rob Stringer that it is time for change. We can all be proud that during this time Sony Music set the standard for philanthropic and charitable works.”

He went on to say the Sony Foundation has raised over $36 million and changed the lives of young Australians with cancer and disabilities, as well as those facing homelessness, drug and alcohol dependency, exclusion from school, unemployment, mental illness, neglect and abuse.

He said he would “catch up” with staff over the coming weeks.

The note, as well as how it was received by staff, is discussed in TMN’s new podcast, TMN Talks.

The podcast also tackles the fallout from Handlin’s ousting and the challenges in front of the company if it is to enact real cultural change.

In recent weeks, Sony Music in Australia has been plagued with accusations of fostering a toxic culture.

Last week, it was revealed the company’s head office was intervening, launching an investigation into harassment and bullying at the local outfit.

The investigation follows the April departure of vice president of commercial music, Tony Glover, who was accused of inappropriate behaviour. Glover denied the allegations.

The new investigation, however, is understood to have a much wider scope and is said to be unrelated to Glover.

It then emerged over the weekend that Sony Music’s corporate headquarters in New York had engaged external counsel to conduct the investigation.

And earlier this week, Sony Music’s longest-serving global employee, and CEO of the Australian outfit, Handlin, was dramatically sacked with little explanation offered.

Since then, Pat Handlin and Mark Stebnicki have also been placed on leave as the investigation continues.

TMN is not suggesting Denis Handlin, Pat Handlin or Mark Stebnicki have been accused of any wrongdoing.

Sony Music’s succession plans are not yet clear, nor is Handlin’s next move.

Sony Music HQ has thus far declined to comment further on the unfolding story.

Read more: 5 questions that need answering after Denis Handlin’s exit

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