Denis Handlin AO is the former Chairman & CEO, Australia & New Zealand of Sony Music Entertainment.
He led Sony Music Entertainment’s operations in Australia for more than 30 years before leaving under controversial circumstances in 2021.
Denis Handlin: Early career and rise through Sony
Denis Handlin started out at the Australian Record Company (now Sony Music) in May 1970, working in the Distribution Division in Brisbane. He is Sony Music’s longest serving employee globally.
In 1976, Handlin moved to Sony Music’s head office in Sydney and held a number of senior positions including National Promotions Manager, Director of Marketing and General Manager, Marketing and Sales.
Handlin was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company in 1984. In February 1996, he was made Chairman, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and appointed to the international committee responsible for the company’s global strategy.
Following the global merger of Sony Music and Bertelsmann Media Group, Handlin was appointed in September 2004 as Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of SONY BMG Australia & New Zealand. Following Sony Corporation acquiring Bertelsmann’s share in SONY BMG, the company was renamed to Sony Music Entertainment from January 2009.
Denis Handlin: Work in Asia
Under Denis Handlin’s 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.
In September 2010, in addition to his Australia and New Zealand responsibilities, Handlin was appointed President, South East Asia & Korea, including managing the day-to-day operations of the Asian Regional Office located in Hong Kong. In August 2011, his role was further expanded as President, Asia.
At the beginning of 2020, as part of Sony changing its structure in Asia and the Middle East, Handlin moved to exclusively focus on leading the future of the firm’s Australia and New Zealand companies after overseeing the Asia Pacific region for Sony for a decade. That same year, he celebrated his 50th year in the company in May.
Denis Handlin: career recognition
Denis Handlin was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia ‘AM’ in 2005 for his services to music, industry and artists development and his charitable fundraising activities.
In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2017, Handlin was elevated to and awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of distinguished service to the Australian recording industry, through leadership and mentoring roles, as a supporter of young artists, and to charitable organisations as a director, patron and contributor.
Alongside his long-serving career at Sony, Handlin is also the longest-serving member of the board of ARIA, global recorded music trade body IFPI’s affiliated national group in Australia, joining the board in 1984 and serving several terms as Chairman. He was appointed as chairman of the Asia/Pacific Regional Board of the IFPI in 2014.Music Business Worldwide