Harman Professional Eliminates 650 Jobs

Yesterday, Harman Professional gave notice to approximately 650 people that they were restructuring and they will be laid off over the next year. The positions are in the U.S. and Europe and a Harman spokesperson told rAVe today that the result of the restructuring will include facility closures over the next nine months to a year, including Elkhart, Ind., South Jordan, Utah and a few smaller offices throughout Europe that came to Harman through a number of acquisitions over the last 10 years.

“To be clear, the changes we announced yesterday are the culmination of a transformation that the Professional Solutions division has been undergoing for the last two years to better serve our customers, increase our competitiveness and accelerate new product innovations,” said Harman Director of Public Relations David Glaubke. “We are now consolidating certain locations acquired through acquisitions over the years to leverage the R&D, engineering, design and manufacturing operations of our other divisions and speed up our time to market. We also are investing in a stronger IT infrastructure, supply chain and software-driven NPIs that will improve high-demand product availability and processes and resources for our customers, sales teams and distributors.”

As you may know, Harman Professional was purchased by Samsung last November as part of an $8 Billion acquisition that included all of Harman International — including both the professional and consumer divisions. As we speculated back then and again in March, this purchase was primarily for the Harman automobile technology products and a, potentially, unintentional consequence of the acquisition were some big-time great brands from Harman Professional like AMXCrowndbx and AKG.

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Harman did follow up and tell us that they are currently redirecting their investments into IT tools and platforms (aimed at helping their sales teams, distributors and reps) and they are investing in Experience Centers in the U.S. and Europe on top of the two that are already in Asia.

Glaubke commented on the likely unrest a layoff this size would garner saying, “I want to emphasize that decisions like this, while necessary, are not easy to make. We have given our employees advance notification of the changes we will make over the next year to assist with the transition and will do our best to mitigate the impact to our employees and their families. Importantly, we also will ensure that the process is completely seamless for our customers.”

We hope that all the 650 Harman Professional employees displaced by their reorganization find homes elsewhere in ProAV quickly as they have some talented people that would serve companies like Extron, Crestron, NEC, Barco, Christie, Epson, Bose, Cisco and Almo well – all of which are hiring!

There is no official press release on this, yet, but here is where you can find Harman Pro.

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (www.amx.com), a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (www.extron.com), rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at gary@ravepubs.com..