Sunday, October 2, 2011

Harman Kardon Speaker

Sixteen days after the passing of Sidney Harman, founder of Harman Kardon, the company filed a press release with the SEC.  It stated:

Growing in Emerging Markets

HARMAN continues to expand its presence in all businesses in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China where the Company is targeting $1.5 billion in revenues by 2015. HARMAN reports that its Dandong facility is nearing completion in China. The custom-built, 460,000 square foot facility will be HARMAN’s largest and most technologically advanced, featuring dual operations for automotive electronics and professional audio systems. The facility is expected to come on-line in July 2011.

Getting Costs and Capital Right

The Company noted that while it has exceeded its cost savings goal under the STEP Change program, the discipline gained in the process continues, which included the closure or consolidation of 16 HARMAN facilities and the reduction of 2250 jobs in high-cost countries during the past three years.

The Company continues to deploy its capital wisely through investments in organic growth initiatives such as its new facility in Dandong, a planned expansion of its manufacturing operation in Hungary and its new North American manufacturing and engineering facility in Queretaro, Mexico. Additionally, the Company continues to evaluate and execute a variety of capital strategies intended to drive value to shareholders including selected technology acquisitions, such as 3dB Research Limited in Vancouver Canada, and reinstatement of the quarterly dividend.
Sidney Harman died April 12, 2011.  His obituary stated:

Harman argued in his autobiography, Mind Your Own Business: A Maverick's Guide to Business, Leadership and Life (2003), that business life should be informed by personal values and a moral compass. He was critical of "Master of the Universe" management styles.
Ironically Harman inked a deal with KKR and Goldman Sachs.  The two Masters of the PEU Universe reneged on their commitment as the global financial implosion spread.

Harman International did issue a statement on their founder's passing.

“His legacy of leading-edge innovation and premium quality will continue to live on at HARMAN and I am grateful to Dr. Harman for the trust he placed in the company’s management to carry on his legacy” said HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO, Dinesh Paliwal.
This part sounded like a historical artifact:

He will be remembered for his great charm, his curiosity, his philanthropic and public service interests, and his genuine kindness to employees and customers alike.

Management made no commitment to follow Sidney's lead.  They didn't say their founder was a role model, but he will "be remembered."

Sidney Harman's widow is Jane Harman, the former Congresswoman from California.  America's exporting jobs to China began in earnest under Rep. Harman's second Congressional stint, which began in 2001.  Rather than play fiddle under a Republican led House, Harman fled to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a prominent bipartisan think tank.

America's business and political leadership understand power and greed.  I dub them Masters of the Universe.  Nary a personal value or moral compass in sight...