Record Labels

Two Sony Music Australia Execs Depart Amid Workplace Culture Probe

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Two senior executives have exited Sony Music’s Australasian affiliate, including the son of the former music company’s chief.

Pat Handlin, VP of A&R, and son of former Sony Music Australia and New Zealand chairman and CEO Denis Handlin; along with Mark Stebnicki, senior VP of strategy, corporate affairs and human resources, are no longer with the company, a New York-based spokesperson confirms to Billboard.

Reasons for their departures were not given.

The pair leave some two months after the launch of an independent investigation into the Sydney-based company’s workplace culture, a development broken by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Nathanael Cooper.

As previously reported, Sony Music veteran Denis Handlin left in June, after more than 51 years with the company, and 36 years the helm of the domestic business.

“It is time for a change in leadership,” wrote Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer in a memo to staff at the time. “And I will be making further announcements in terms of the new direction of our business in Australia and New Zealand in due course.”

It remains unclear who is guiding the company at present, or how Sony Music is progressing with the recruitment process for a new leader. A spokesperson declined to comment further.

Billboard does not suggest Denis Handlin, Pat Handlin or Stebnicki have been accused of any wrongdoing as part of the investigation, which is understood to be ongoing.

As previously reported, The SMH detailed allegations of discrimination, bullying and harassment within Sony Music Australia. And in June, some 20 former employees came forward to share allegations of a toxic workplace culture, as part of an investigation by The Guardian Australia’s Kelly Burke.

Earlier in the year, the music giant terminated a veteran executive after a probe found he had engaged in misconduct with staff, details of which were documented by the SMH.

In recent days, Universal Music Australia confirmed an investigation into its own workplace culture, after allegations of inappropriate behavior within its ranks circulated on Beneath The Glass Ceiling, an Instagram account that is keeping the local music industry in check with anonymised accounts of bullying, harassment, racism, assault and more.