Harman Pro issues update statement to PSNEurope on future of brand portfolio

The company's global marketing director has told PSNEurope how it plans to strengthen its brands, despite axing 650 members of staff.
By Daniel Gumble,

Harman Professional Solutions global comms director, David Glaubke, has updated PSNEurope on plans for its brand portfolio, following last week’s announcement that a group of laid off AKG engineers had launched their own brand in the form of Austrian Audio.

Microphone and headphones giant AKG was recently forced to close the doors of its Vienna, Austria HQ after Harman Pro revealed that it was axing 650 members of its international staff, causing uncertainty over the long-term future of the brand.

This morning, however, Glaubke has reiterated to PSNEurope that none of its brands will be cut as part of its ‘workforce consolidation’ bid.

“None of the Harman Professional Solutions brands are closing down, in fact we’re investing in them to make them stronger – AKG included,” he told PSNEurope. “While we announced the wind down of our Vienna facilities more than a year ago, our division restructuring and consolidation of facilities allows us to accelerate our R&D, launch competitive products faster, streamline and simplify how we work, and better integrate our businesses. Moving forward we are consolidating R&D at three Centers of Competency (or CoC): Northridge, California, for Acoustics; Richardson, Texas, for Electronics, DSP and Video & Control; and Aarhus, Denmark, for Lighting. On top of theses CoCs, we will have an NPI Team that designs and delivers competitive products based on technology platforms created by CoCs. The NPI team will be consolidated in three NPI centers across all product lines, based in Shenzhen, China; Bangalore, India; and Budapest, Hungary.”

He continued: “These NPI centers will take advantage of design and R&D teams from our other Harman divisions that already have a strong successful presence in these places. This footprint consolidation will create many more cross-collaboration opportunities to accelerate and improve our innovations. In addition, these facilities are already home to several Harman manufacturing centers, so we will benefit from the close proximity to our supply chain and other technology partners, a strong talent pool and university infrastructure, and massive growth in the region – all of which will inform future innovative product development.”

The newly launched Austrian Audio comprises 17 of AKG’s top engineers, with the company looking to continue producing market leading products. Speaking exclusively to PSNEurope, the company’s director of marketing and product management, Kent Iverson, said: “The most important part of this story is the engineering staff. We’ve got 17 of the finest engineers in the business. If you think back to any AKG product over the past 20 years or more, these folk have had their hands in the development of it.”

For more exclusive insights from iverson on what Austrian Audio plans to bring to the market, click here.

You can also read an exclusive interview with Austrian Audio CEO Martin Siedl, senior acoustics R&D Bernhard Pinter and head of product management Philipp Schuster in the November issue of PSNEurope, out on November 27.