Monday night’s episode of The Project saw music legend Natalie Imbruglia join the panel to discuss her new album Firebird.
However, after a candid chat about getting back into the music industry after a ten-year writer’s block, the panellists informed her of the news that Sony CEO Denis Handlin was fired.
“Before we let you go, some big news about Sony CEO Denis Handlin being fired after 50 years at the company following a workplace cultural review,” said Carrie Bickmore. “He was leading the company when you first started out, I wondered if that news was surprising to you?”
It was the first Imbruglia had heard of the news.
“You are telling me that news for the first time, so I didn’t realise that. To be honest, I didn’t have any direct contact with him, so… That’s a bit of a shock,” she said.
Bickmore added: “There’s more and more … It has been an interesting time for the music industry in Australia. More and more claims coming out of women being harassed and bullied. Having spent so much time in the industry there’s talk this is the me too moment for the music industry. Do you feel like it is a long time coming?”
“Look, I had it in the acting industry. I think, you know, when I was coming up through the ranks, the kind of situations we were put in was definitely something that I hope has changed over the years, auditioning in bikinis, things like that. I do think, yeah, it is time for a change. So I can’t really comment on the Denis situation because I don’t know anything about it. But, yeah that is quite a shock,” Imbruglia commented.
Denis Handlin’s shock departure was announced to staff in an email sent out on Monday, with reference to the company going in a “new direction”.
Sony Australia is currently making headlines over an investigation into workplace culture after a staff member from its Sydney office made a complaint, with allegations of bullying and harassment, reported The Sun-Herald.
An Australian-based external counsel has been appointed to investigate the claims.
There is no suggestion that Mr Handlin’s departure relates to the allegations being investigated.
Mr Handlin began his career in the mail room at Sony Music and is the company’s longest-serving employee globally after joining the organisation in 1970. He became CEO of the Australian operations in 1984.
His departure, which is effective immediately, was announced by Sony Music’s global boss Rob Stringer in an internal email on Monday.
“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,” the note said.
He added: “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.”
Mr Handlin was thanked for his “extraordinary contribution” to the company in the email, where he has held the position of chairman since 1996.