Sony Music Australia FINALLY announces a new CEO one year after Denis Handlin was ousted amid allegations of a ‘toxic’ work culture

Sony Music has finally appointed a new CEO for its Australian and New Zealand operations, one year after former chairman Denis Handlin was ousted from the company amid an investigation into workplace misconduct.

The music conglomerate announced on Wednesday that Australian music executive Vanessa Picken will take over the top job starting in September.

Ms Picken, who is currently based in Los Angeles, will relocate back to Sydney for the new role. 

Sony Music has finally appointed a new CEO for its Australian and New Zealand operations, one year after former chairman Denis Handlin was ousted from the company amid an investigation into workplace misconduct. Australian music executive Vanessa Picken (pictured), who is currently based in LA, will take over the top job starting in September

Ms Picken boasts more than 15 years of experience in leadership, artist and label management, and digital entertainment marketing. 

‘After a careful and thorough recruitment process, we are delighted to have Vanessa join our company in such a key role,’ Sony Music Group chairman Rob Stringer said in a statement. 

‘Her impressive background covers so many areas of the modern music business in Australia and New Zealand and her recent leadership experience in the United States adds a global understanding to those existing skills.

‘We believe Vanessa will be a trailblazing executive leading Sony Music Australia to an exciting future.’

News of Ms Picken's appointment comes a year after the company's former CEO Denis Handlin abruptly exited Sony Music. At the time, the company was being investigated other workers over allegations of bullying and harassment

News of Ms Picken’s appointment comes a year after the company’s former CEO Denis Handlin abruptly exited Sony Music. At the time, the company was being investigated other workers over allegations of bullying and harassment

Ms Picken said she was ‘delighted’ to be ‘coming home’ to Australia for this new role, and vowed to ‘take the company into a transformative next chapter’. 

News of Ms Picken’s appointment comes a year after the company’s former CEO Denis Handlin abruptly exited the company. 

At the time, the company was being investigated over allegations of bullying and harassment by other employees.

Mr Handlin was one of the most powerful and influential figures in the music industry and helped bands and stars like Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy and Gang of Youths achieve international fame

Mr Handlin was one of the most powerful and influential figures in the music industry and helped bands and stars like Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy and Gang of Youths achieve international fame

Mr Handlin was one of the most powerful and influential figures in the music industry and helped bands and stars like Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy and Gang of Youths achieve international fame. 

Sony Music’s global chairman Rob Stringer announced the Handlin’s departure in June last year, sending an internal email to staff with the news. 

‘I am writing to let you know that Denis Handlin will be leaving Sony Music Entertainment after more than 50 years with the company, effectively immediately,’ Mr Stringer wrote.

Sony Music's global chairman Rob Stringer announced the Handlin's departure in June last year, sending an internal email to staff with the news

Sony Music’s global chairman Rob Stringer announced the Handlin’s departure in June last year, sending an internal email to staff with the news

‘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.’

Mr Stringer went on to thank Mr Handlin – Sony Music’s longest-serving employee anywhere in the world – for his ‘extraordinary contribution’ to the company.

Mr Handlin’s son Pat, a Sony Music Australia executive, was stood down a day later. 

The departures came just days after it was revealed that Sony Music was investigating claims of bullying and harassment within its Australian office.

Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting Denis nor Pat Handlin were involved in any of the allegations.

Mr Handlin's son Pat, a Sony Music Australia executive, was stood down a day later. Pictured right, with fiancée Samantha Jade

Mr Handlin’s son Pat, a Sony Music Australia executive, was stood down a day later. Pictured right, with fiancée Samantha Jade 

Denis Handlin and his rise at Sony 

Sony Music Australia boss Denis Handlin resigned after 50 years with the company last June. 

His resignation marked the end of an era that saw artists like Delta Goodrem, Gang of Youths and Men at Work rise to fame.

Mr Handlin was born in Brisbane in 1951 and took up his first job in the mailroom with the Australian Record Company – later renamed to Sony Music – in 1970.  

He later spent time in key roles such as national promotions manager, director of marketing and  general manager of marketing and sales.

He was made managing director and chief executive in 1984 before rising to the role of chairman in 1996. 

Mr Handlin headed the company during the merger between Sony Music and Bertelsmann Media Group in 2004. 

His responsibilities expanded well beyond Australia and New Zealand as he oversaw offices in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, the Middle East region, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. 

His company bio described him as a ‘highly competitive spirit’. 

‘Under his leadership, Australian artists such as Men at Work, Midnight Oil, Silverchair, John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite, Tina Arena, Delta Goodrem, Human Nature, Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, The Veronicas, Justice Crew, David Campbell, Amy Shark, Tash Sultana, Gang of Youths and Ruel have achieved international recognition and success,’ it reads. 

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