With the completion last week of its acquisition of Martin Professional and the foundation of a lighting business unit within HARMAN Professional, HARMAN has announced two key promotions that, according to Blake Augsburger, President HARMAN Professional, are designed to position the business unit for optimal development while capitalizing on selective shared resources and relationships with HARMAN Professional.
Effective immediately, Lars Dige Knudsen is promoted to Vice President, General Manager, Lighting Strategic Business Unit, HARMAN Professional (taking over from Martin’s previous CEO Christian Engsted), and Villads Thomsen is promoted to Vice President, Global Sales, Lighting Strategic Business Unit, HARMAN Professional. Knudsen, a 17-year veteran of Martin Professional, previously held the position of CFO and Thomsen, previously Vice President of Sales, EMEA at Martin Professional, has held senior sales leadership positions over a 14-year career at Martin.
“HARMAN’s acquisition of Martin Professional makes business sense from an economic, geographic and strategic point of view but also from a talent perspective as evidenced by the promotions today of Lars Dige Knudsen and Villads Thomsen,” Augsburger said. “Both are experienced, accomplished and ambitious executives with a strong commitment to grow HARMAN Professional’s Lighting Strategic Business Unit and serve customers around the globe. I look forward to working with Lars and Villads and providing them with all the resources and support that they need to make the most of this acquisition.”
Lars Dige Knudsen, Vice President, General Manager, Lighting Strategic Business Unit, HARMAN Professional
Villads Thomsen, Vice President, Global Sales, Lighting Strategic Business Unit, HARMAN Professional
As CFO, Lars Dige Knudsen was central to transforming Martin Professional into the world’s leading supplier of entertainment lighting. In addition to his general management responsibilities, he will continue to head shared services including finance, IT, legal and human resources. Lars Dige Knudsen holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Finance & Auditing from Aarhus Business College.
Commenting on his promotion, Lars Dige Knudsen noted, “HARMAN acquired Martin Professional because Blake Augsburger and his team saw value and potential. I am delighted to be tasked with realizing the value and achieving the potential of Martin Professional within HARMAN and to lead the new HARMAN Professional Lighting Strategic Business Unit. I look forward to working with the other professional division business units to evolve and grow together.”
Villads Thomsen has led successful sales programs for Martin Professional in several key territories in Europe and Asia. Most recently, he led the consolidation of Martin Professional’s European and Africa organizations into unified EMEA region. He is a graduate of the Administration and Management program at Aarhus Business College, holds an MBA from Henley Business School and has participated in several executive programs at IMD and Insead.
Villads commented: “With new powerful ownership, I’m excited to take part in what is certain to take Martin ‘to the next level’. Being part of HARMAN will not only cement the current position of Martin Professional in the lighting industry but will also bring new innovations to the benefit of existing and new customers.”