AlphaTheta general manager addresses name change and more during IMS opening keynote

AlphaTheta general manager addresses name change and more during IMS opening keynote

AlphaTheta GM Mark Gronfeld delivered the opening keynote of IMS Ibiza 2024.

Speaking from the White Isle conference, Gronfeld explained the motive behind the company’s much-talked-about rebrand, which saw Pioneer DJ’s name changed to AlphaTheta, and addressed some of the longer-term issues it has experienced over the past decade.  

The rebrand, which also saw two new products announced in the form of the OMNIS-DUO and WAVE EIGHT, was announced back in January, and led to some questions and confusion around the future of Pioneer DJ and its products. 

Explaining the rebrand to AlphaTheta as a “philosophical change”, Gronfeld explained that Pioneer DJ had previously been acquired by private equity firm KKR in 2014, which he described as “the world’s most notorious, infamous and arguably most ruthless, New York, Private Equity firm.”

Gronfeld explained the firm was mainly interested in profit, and had intended to “flip” Pioneer DJ five years after the acquisition. KKR’s ownership of Pioneer DJ led to what Gronfeld acknowledges as missteps within the company, both in marketing and product development. Two examples included the somewhat overt Pioneer DJ DDJ-TOUR1, a CDJ-2000nx2 with a large touchscreen attached, and the visual sponsorship of the McGregor-Mayweather boxing fight in Las Vegas. Gronfeld addressed the challenges in maintaining a company culture around “purpose and people” when leadership views were misaligned.

Following its acquisition by Japanese company Noritsu in 2020, Gronfeld claimed that the company felt a new name was necessary to pivot into a new era, away from its private equity approach. “AlphaTheta is a philosophical change,” he said. “We are slowly defining ourselves by our Why. Not by our What. It’s a slow and maybe confusing process.  But we remain committed.”

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