Vanessa Picken will be the first female CEO of Sony Australia

Vanessa Picken named first female boss of Sony Australia and New Zealand

Vanessa Picken, new Sony boss

Vanessa Picken has been named CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand, one year after the departure of high-profile former boss, Denis Handlin.

The role is one of the most influential in Australian music, given it’s instrumental in signing new artists, managing key business partnerships, as well as operations and marketing for Sony. Picken’s appointment also comes at a critical time for Sony, which back in 2021 promised a change in leadership following half a century of Handlin rule.

The company said Picken will “identify opportunities for artists across multiple entertainment channels such as music, TV, film, podcasting, gaming and more.”

Sony pursued the extensive CEO recruitment process after a tumultuous period for the music business, with its global head of HR embarking on a workplace culture investigation of the Australian arm into allegations of bullying, harassment, racism and discrimination.

Picken will return to Australia for the role from LA, where she is currently the MD of independent global music company [PIAS].

She has promised to “take the company into a transformative next chapter. Our strategies will focus on music, allyship, and innovation, with a global mindset.”

Picken will also take the role of Chair in September, reporting to Rob Stringer, the Sony Music Group chair.

“We believe Vanessa will be a trailblazing executive leading Sony Music Australia to an exciting future,” Stringer said in the statement announcing the appointment, adding that she will be a “trailblazing executive leading Sony Music Australia to an exciting future.”

Picken highlighted the importance of the role, noting the business’ reputation for discovering and developing new and emerging talent across Australia and New Zealand, as well as in creating more commercial and creative opportunities for existing artists.

Picken started her career with EMI Music Australia back in 2006. She went on to found a digital agency and label services company called Comes With Fries, which worked with Australian artists including Jessica Mauboy and Powerderfinger, as well as international bands like Placebo.

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