Hikvision [Doesn't] Hire Ex Sony GM

By John Honovich, Published Dec 16, 2014, 12:00am EST

7 months after being ousted from Sony, Mark Collett has (not) gotten a leadership position with the biggest surveillance manufacturer in the world.

Inside, we examine the role, the potential fit, and the risks of the move.

Update 1/5/ 2015: the deal has fallen through and Collet will not be joining Hikvision. Details added to end of post.

Background 

Mark Collett [link no longer available] was GM of Sony Security System Division for nearly 4 years, coming off a 10-year stint at IBM. Sony let him go in late Spring 2014.

Sony certainly has its own issues with competitors, like Hikvision, fast closing ground, while Sony was relatively slow in new products. The product advantage that Sony held in IP cameras during 2010-2012 has largely been erased.

However, Collet had a poor reputation as an uncharismatic numbers guy, from various industry source and his colleagues we spoke with, unlike someone like Eric Fullerton, formerly at Milestone, who commanded significant respect from industry people and Frank DeFina, formerly at Samsung, who is a magician at manipulating the media.

Outside of his previous titles, it is not clear what Collett brings to the table.

Hikvision Benefits

However, the upside for Hikvision is that they get some validation. They can now say that a former Sony and IBM guy has chosen them. Despite Hikvision being well known by industry insiders and covered frequently here, Hikvision's brand is far less known than their Western and Japanese competitors. How much Collet helps remains to be seen but there is no doubt that they can trumpet his Sony and IBM background.

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Successful American Organization Already

That said, Hikvision already has quite a large American operations, including a sales team, marketing team, product management, technical support, systems engineers, etc. LinkedIn shows 61 profiles just for Hikvision USA employees [link no longer available].

And they are clearly doing well. In our Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing Ground report, Hikvision won in a landslide, clearly powered by their well-established American organization.

Outlook

Will this be a case of messing with success or can Collet bring prestige and big company management practices to a growing organization?

Collet will have to move fast because Hikvision is used to massive growth. Their overall company growth in 2014 was ~50%, with the US division far exceeding that level.

The upside is that if Collet can last, for those not in the know, he can claim full credit for turning a Chinese company into an American powerhouse.

Update Jan 5, 2015

Collet is not joining Hikvision now. It is unclear what caused this to fall apart, but sources confirm that he will be a consultant for a short period of time.

From Hikvision's perspective, this is likely for the best.

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