Parasher in, Augsburger out at Harman Professional Solutions17 May 2016
Harman has named Mohit Parasher, 47, as executive VP and president for the Professional Solutions division, effective immediately. The appointment sees the exit of Blake Augsburger, who has led this part of the technology company (formerly the Professional division, restructured in the last six months to form Professional Solutions) since 2007.
The change follows Harman International Industries CEO Dinesh Paliwal’s earnings call to investors at the end of April, when he said he was “not satisfied” with certain aspects of the business’ growth, and that “decisive steps” had been taken to improve the cost structure.
Parasher (pictured) was previously VP and general manager for Harman’s Consumer Audio and Professional Solutions businesses in Asia Pacific.
“Mohit has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership and success in general management, sales, marketing and channel management, achieving rapid growth for Harman’s audio brands and Professional Solutions in Asia Pacific,” said CEO Dinesh Paliwal last week. “In addition to his impressive record at Harman, Mohit has more than 20 years of global experience growing audio, video and systems businesses throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. A proven transformation architect in the retail and business-to-business segments, Mohit has the ideal background to evolve our Professional Solutions division to a holistic solutions-based organisation and capitalise on the tremendous growth opportunities before us.”
Parasher steps directly into Augsburger’s old role, and is now responsible for all worldwide operations, strategy and performance of the Professional Solutions division, the “world’s largest professional audio, lighting, video and control products and systems organisation”, encompassing brands such as JBL, AKG, Soundcraft and Studer, and recent acquisitions such as AMX and Martin Professional.
“Blake has been extremely influential in the evolution of the Harman Professional portfolio, most recently leading the extension of our capabilities beyond audio and into lighting and enterprise solutions,” continued Paliwal. “We are grateful for his many contributions to the success of the company and wish him well in his future endeavours.”
The probability of the change to senior management was signposted in Harman’s Q3 (January-March 2016) earnings call to financial investors at NASDAQ. In the call on 28 April (as transcribed by SeekingAlpha.com), Paliwal revealed that, despite an overall improvement in the company’s performance, and sales of $6.7bn for the 12 months ending 31 March, results across the divisions were “mixed”.
“We continue to face some macroeconomic and transitional challenges in our Professional Solutions and Connected Services divisions,” Paliwal said, reporting that the “Brazil[ian] and certain European markets continued to be soft”.
He said the transition of the business from product-based (Harman Professional) to solutions-based (Harman Professional Solutions) was “absolutely… the right structure”.
“We have put considerable effort in aligning our internal resources, training or replacing our sales team, along with the distribution channel partners they work through.
“However, it is a complex change and it takes time. I believe we have built the strongest portfolio in the industry, our total solution approach allows us to cross-sell audio, lighting, video switching and enterprise automation.”
But, he noted, he was “not satisfied with this performance or the timeline”.
“We have already taken decisive steps in our Professional Solutions division to better position us for growth and improve our cost structure. We are confident that we are taking the right actions to put us on a path for future growth in Professional Solutions and to restore margins to historic high levels of profitability.”
Parasher has been with Harman for two years, and held previous senior roles with telecommunications giant Bharti Airtel and Sony Europe.