Witten & Weisenberg Out of Core Brands as Company Reorganizes Its Product Management Team


Nortek's Core Brands LogoToday we learned that Core Brands has taken steps to reorganize their product marketing teams with moves both to bring in new executives – and to move two prominent executives out. Mitch Witten, former Core Brands Director of Audio, and Mark Weisenberg, Business Development, are both out of the company effective immediately.

See who is newly joining the company, or has been promoted into new roles…

Saying that these moves underscore the “importance of innovation to its present and future audio product development and marketing,” Core Brands announced three new director-level appointments. In a telephone interview with Core Brands Vice President of Products and Marketing Joe Roberts, we were told that this is really all about a “reinvestment back into the product management and marketing” of the company.

Joining the company are Yann Connan as new director of Product Management for the Audio Group, Randall Logan as Director of Channel Marketing and Brett Faulk as Executive Director, Strategic Products. Both Logan and Faulk have already had some involvement with the company on an interim basis, but now they’ve been promoting to new full-time and bigger roles.

“We’re actually pretty pleased about this,” Roberts told us. “The talent that we are bringing in and promoted is really strong and [with] a great track record and it will be really good for us.

New to the team…

Yann Connan has a long history in the tech industry, most recently with Simple TV, a home media server company, as well as Roxio, PeoplePC and Corel where the company say he “successfully managed global businesses.” Roberts told us that he has had the opportunity to work with Connan in the past.

Randall Logan has worked with Core Brands recently on a contract basis, mostly in a field support role. Logan’s background includes stints at companies such as Broderbund, The Learning Company, Roxio and Sonic Solutions. This background closely aligns with Roberts history who joined Core Brands from Broderbund.

Brett Faulk had also been working with Core Brands on a contract basis for the last few months, mostly in their Korus division. Faulk comes from positions with more I.T.-centric companies such as Dell, HP and Compaq. According to the company, Faulk was very involved in the creation of Korus.

Will have a real impact…

Roberts told us that each of these new executives will have a real impact on the future direction of the company. Each of the new hire was hand-selected to fulfill a critical within the company and each was an individual that Roberts worked with in varying roles in the past.

Yann Connan’s role as Director of Product Management for the Audio Group is really a new role at the company, Roberts told us. Up until now, the audio segment has been split up amongst executives. Even Witten did not have all audio products under his control.

Audio is the majority…

Because the audio segment is the majority of their business, Roberts told us that “we needed to bring  someone in who really had – basically – the horsepower to manage the entire category.”

“In a product management capacity,” Roberts told us, “one of the best I’ve ever worked with. He is a fantastic marketer…brilliant – absolutely brilliant – with direct marketing. And what he really brings that we have needed, I think more than ever, is the understanding and the ability to execute multiple channels.”

Roberts went on to tell us that the company deals with many channels such as low voltage, custom integration, and even distribution – which is different that CI direct. Connan can develop these channels in such a way that minimizes conflict. He can, Roberts told us, create a level playing field for all of the channels that Core Brands addresses.

Both ‘really good guys’…

It remains unclear what dealer reaction will be to the exit of Witten and Weisenberg – both long-time and well know tech industry executives. Witten, in particular, has only been with the company about a year…having joined them from Monster.

Both of these departing executives “are really good guys,” Roberts told us. It is more the result of the company looking to build a team with an expanded skill set that resulted in this reorganization.

Bullish on 2014…

Core Brands, Roberts said firmly, is expecting a tremendous 2014. The executive team has refocused its strategy and feels very optimistic for this year.

Without question, Roberts said, the company endured a difficult transition throughout 2013 as new systems and processes were put into place. Recognizing that they still have a ways to go, Roberts says that the team is preparing to amaze their customers with new initiatives in customer service.

“We have made that [customer service] as our number 1 priority,” Roberts told us. “[Core Brands President] Bill Pollock has moved customer service to report directly to him.”

Core Brands believes, Roberts said, that it can be best-in-class for customer service. There will be many, including integrators and dealers for their various brands, watching to see if this goal is met.

“We’ll be a much better partner in 2014,” Roberts promised. “I’m actually bullish on 2014.”

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