WASHINGTON, DC—Dr. Sidney Harman, industry icon and Chairman Emeritus of Harman International Industries, died last month at 92, of complications from acute myeloid leukemia. He stayed active as executive chairman of Newsweek until his passing.
Dr. Harman (Ph.D., education) was active in manufacturing, education, government, philanthropy and publishing. He co-founded Harman Kardon in 1953, subsequently producing the first component hi-fi stereo receiver. After selling his holdings in Harman Kardon in the late ’70s, Dr. Harman reacquired a portion of his struggling former companies. Through expansion and acquisition, technology and innovation remained the focus of what is now the publicly traded Harman International, incorporating professional audio (including brands JBL, Lexicon, AKG Acoustics, dbx, Digitech, BSS, Studer, Soundcraft and Crown), consumer and automotive electronics.
Blake Augsburger, Harman EVP, president professional division and Americas country manager, said, “Dr. Harman was a remarkable individual who led a truly remarkable life. He will be remembered as an innovator, an agent of change and a Renaissance man with an imaginative, informed vision and a sharp eye for detail. In our numerous meetings over the years that we worked together, I learned a lot about technology and business, but I also gained considerable experience and insights from a man who did so much for so many.
Dr. Sidney Harman, circa 1955 “Today, Harman is great, modern company with a culture of collaboration, innovation and continual improvement in every discipline within our organization. In saying this, I am simply stating that Dr. Harman’s legacy lives on at the company that he founded.”
Michael MacDonald, Harman Professional executive vice president of marketing & sales, commented, “Dr. Harman’s lifework elevated sound to a new level on the public consciousness and in doing so, he helped create and shape our industry. Ever the perfectionist, he insisted on reshaping the professional and consumer audio world on more than a few occasions.”
Mark Terry, former Harman executive and currently president of the AVC Group, stated, “The passing of Dr. Harman marks the end of an era for the entire audio industry. In our lifetime, we will never again see a person of such originality, talent and business acumen. He had it all—a passion for the business and technology of sound, an unerring instinct for what the market needed next and the ability to create the world’s most successful business that was focused exclusively on audio.
“And that doesn’t even begin to touch upon his amazing range of interests and philanthropies. I had the unique and distinct opportunity to work closely with him for nearly 20 years. His influence on me, and the entire industry he served, is everlasting.”