In a milestone year for Denis Handlin, the Australian recording industry legend will now exclusively focus on leading Sony Music’s activities in Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement issued overnight from New York, Sony Music Entertainment announced it would rejig its leadership and business strategy by way of a new structure. Among these major changes will be the implementation of new hubs throughout Asia and the Middle East that will report to Sony Music’s corporate HQ in New York.

Going forward, Handlin will be freed up from duties for the Asia Pacific region, which he has overseen for the last 10 years.

As part of this new mandate, reads a statement, the “next chapter of Denis’s illustrious career will be to continue expanding Sony Music’s portfolio of new business verticals in Australia and New Zealand while continuing his enviable track record developing local artists and breaking international acts.”

In unveiling the changes, Rob Stringer, Chairman, Sony Music Group, said, “Asia and the Middle East are key emerging drivers of the global music industry and an important part of our current and long-term success. This new structure will enhance collaboration with the regional leadership team to drive our strategic business and creative priorities.”

Handlin added responsibilities as President, South East Asia & Korea, in September 2010, 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.

ARIA Board
ARIA Board. Left to Right – David Vodicka, Sebastian Chase, Natalie Waller, Dan Rosen, Karen Don, Niko Nordstrom, Denis Handlin AO (Chair), Emily Crews, Andrew Smith and Sophie McArthur Photo by Cole Be

Adds Stringer: “Denis has been very instrumental in our Company’s development in this region and has assembled an excellent leadership team in Asia equipped to execute on our strategic initiatives and expand the progress on our commercial activities there.”

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This May, Handlin will celebrate his 50th year with the Australian company, making him the longest serving executive with Sony Music worldwide.

Born in Brisbane, Handlin has been at the helm of Sony Music Australia since 1984, during which time he has guided the careers of a long list of stars, from Men at Work to Midnight Oil, Silverchair, John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite, Tina Arena, Delta Goodrem, Human Nature and many more.

Many of those signings were on hand at a special function in Sydney back in 2014 to mark the Handlin’s 30 years in charge. Stringer was among the speakers at the party, which raised more than Australia $200,000 ($176,000) for the Sony Foundation.

Denis Handlin
Denis Handlin

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.

Under this new reporting structure, Sony Music’s India and Middle East president Shridhar Subramaniam takes on the newly-created role of president, strategy and market development, Asia and Middle East, based in New York.

Also, Andrew Chan, Sony Music’s managing director in China, becomes the MD for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Joseph Chang continues in his position as Sony Music Korea managing director and company stalwart Ariel Fung rises to executive Vice President, Southeast Asia.