For many music industry professionals, Denis Handlin has been the face of Sony Music in these parts for a lifetime.

Indeed, Handlin is the longest service executive with Sony Music’s network of companies anywhere on the planet, clocking up more than 50 years.

That’s all come to an abrupt end. Handlin leaves the company he has led since 1984, and a brand he has worked for since May 1970.

“It is time for a change in leadership,” reads an internal statement, penned by Sony Music Group Chairman Rob Stringer, seen by TIO.

Further announcements on the leadership of the company here will be made in due course, Stringer adds.

The company had no comment.

Handlin joined Sony Music (then the Australian Record Company) in the Distribution Division in his hometown, Brisbane. In 1976, he relocated to head office in Sydney, where he served in a number of senior positions including National Promotions Manager, Director of Marketing and General Manager, Marketing and Sales.

Over time, Handlin has been recognised for his service on several occasions, including the ARIA Icon award, the Ted Albert Award, and he has twice been honoured by the Queen, as a the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2005 and the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2017.

His departure, effective immediately, comes amidst a string of reports published in the national press that address multiple instances of bad behaviour at Sony Music’s Sydney office, incidents that already claimed the scalp of one executive earlier in the year and are now said to be the subject of a wider investigation.

Sydney Morning Herald’s latest exposé points out that the title “isn’t suggesting Mr Handlin is accused of any wrongdoing or is involved or implicated in any of the allegations being investigated.”

Read Stringer’s email to staff below.

“I am writing to let you know that Denis Handlin will be leaving Sony Music Entertainment after more than 50 years with the Company, effective immediately.

It is time for a change in leadership. And I will be making further announcements in terms of the new direction of our business in Australia and New Zealand in due course.

My team and I will be speaking further to your team leaders about this process throughout the week, but at this point I wanted to let everyone know this news at the same time.

We thank Denis for his extraordinary contribution to the company and its artists over his long career in the Australian and New Zealand music industry.”

Never miss industry news

Get the latest music industry news, insights, and updates straight to your inbox. Learn more