Freshwater succeeds Gordon as DiGiCo MD
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
austin-and-jamesAustin Freshwater and James Gordon
UK - Audiotonix has promoted general manager Austin Freshwater to managing director of DiGiCo, signalling a new era for long-serving MD James Gordon, who remains Audiotonix CEO.
Audiotonix oversees entertainment technology brands Allen & Heath, Calrec, DiGiGrid, Group One Limited, KLANG:technologies, Solid State Logic, and newly acquired Sound Devices LLC, as well as DiGiCo.
“We were talking about Austin moving into the MD position just before COVID-19 hit, by which time it didn’t feel right for me to run off into the hills,” comments Gordon. “I don't think it would have sent the right message to our customers and teams.”
“In March 2020, everyone went into ‘serious concern’ mode,” he adds. “We’ve basically spent this time reassuring people within the company who aren’t used to not hitting their numbers that we’re all in it together.
“We’ve also spent a lot of time helping our end users, the DiGiCo sound engineers, because they’ve been miles away from their ‘on the road’ family and their usual support groups haven’t been there in person. Seeing how well Austin has led the team during this time has been exceptional. It’s really shown everyone that he’s more than capable.”
It was the first six months of ‘going dark’ that presented the toughest test says Freshwater. “We were in the office most days trying to keep in touch with everybody and keep them genuinely motivated,” he says. “Just checking in on everyone regularly and letting them know we were still around was vital. It’s been a challenging time both emotionally and commercially.”
“Cultivating relationships, I believe, is an inherent thing,” says Freshwater. “People either have it or they don't. It's not a skill you can learn. If you're good at it and can harness it to build professional relationships, even better. Why wouldn’t you want to get to know people and enjoy spending time with them?”
Gordon continues: “As CEO of Audiotonix, I was getting pulled everywhere. If we hadn't filled the position at DiGiCo and put Austin on the path that we did, when we did, we were in danger of not being as great as the company deserves. Finding the key person, certainly for Helen and I, was such a crucial thing. People love DiGiCo for a reason, and we had to keep the same culture running throughout the company.
“That’s actually the hardest thing when you’re in business - growing the right team around you. All of our businesses at Audiotonix have their own unique working cultures and that's part of the magic of each of the companies complementing one another’s ethos. We've hired and promoted people at each brand that we feel fit the profile of the individual businesses.”

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