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In Memoriam -- Dr. Sidney Harman: 1918 - 2011

It is with deep sadness that we at HARMAN announce the passing of our company’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Sidney Harman.  Following an extraordinary life of business achievement and public service, Dr. Harman was claimed by a sudden and unexpected illness on April 12, 2011. 

“Sidney Harman’s legacy of leading-edge innovation and premium quality will continue to live on at HARMAN,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, the company’s Chairman, President and CEO.  “I am grateful to Dr. Harman for the trust he placed in his successors to carry on these remarkable traditions.  He will be long remembered for his charm, curiosity, philanthropic interests, and dedication to both employees and customers." 

Dr. Sidney Harman co-founded the business that bears his name in 1953.  Blending an early interest in audio and the arts with his doctoral studies in business and education, he introduced one of the first FM radio tuners and the world’s very first stereo receiver.  This passion led to countless other innovations, including the early Harman-Kardon stereo systems that are still coveted by enthusiasts from every generation. 

In 1977, Dr. Harman took a brief detour from his audio career to assume a post in public service as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce.  He returned to the business in 1980 and, within 15 years, had consummated a dozen new acquisitions, creating the powerhouse of brands that differentiates HARMAN today.  Flags were flown at half staff at various HARMAN facilities to mark his passing.

Thanks in large measure to Dr. Harman’s passion, the company’s integration capabilities today enable HARMAN to express the best of its diverse technologies as highly satisfying lifestyle experiences.  As Dr. Harman once so aptly put it, “We define infotainment as the art and science of reducing a set of complex functions to a single, simple, integrated solution.” 

Amidst these remarkable business achievements, Dr. Harman has touched lives in many ways.  He served as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; as a member of the Board of Business Executives for National Security; and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House. He served on the Council on Foreign Relations; as President of the Harman Family Foundation; Vice Chairman of the Corporate Fund Board of The Kennedy Center; and as a Professor at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California.  

Dr. Harman gave generously of himself as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, where he endowed the beautiful Harman Center for the Arts as a true cultural icon of the nation’s capitol.  He also endowed a Writer in Residence visiting professorship for Baruch College at City University of New York, empowering other talented communicators to share their passion.  He has shared his own communications skills as author or co-author of two books, and numerous articles on productivity, quality of working life, and economic policy.   

As Dr. Harman approached the vigorous age of 93, he launched yet another extraordinary venture with the purchase of Newsweek magazine in order to pursue his long-lived passion for the communications arts.  He is survived by his wife, the honorable former Congresswoman Jane Harman of California, eight children, ten grandchildren, and countless friends  across the world.

Thank you, Dr. Harman, for making the world of premium audio a richer one for all of us.