The Canon Australia restructuring over the last few months included the departure of long-standing Consumer Imaging director, Jason McLean and Corporate Affairs manager Andrew Giles, among what appears to be dozens of other staff redundancies, including most of the Consumer Imaging sales force.
‘Canon cannot comment on staff redundancy figures as we have redeployed many positions within the business to align with new team structure,’ Canon responded to our attempts to confirm numbers of employees impacted.
‘Employees who are no longer employed full-time are being supported with pathway options to assist with their transitions.’
As well as merging the Consumer Imaging (cameras, lenses, photo printers) and Business Imaging (copiers, etc) units to form the ‘Sales and Support Group’ (SSG) Canon has, as previously reported, closed the Canon Collective program, the online Canon Store and PrintNow and PhotoPico services, in addition to eliminating the Consumer Imaging field sales team.
‘As a result, staff who previously resourced these initiatives have been impacted,’ Canon stated.
According to Jason McLean’s LinkedIn page, ‘I have officially now left the company after a bit of garden leave (how good).’
‘Garden leave’, according to Wikipedia, ‘describes the practice whereby an employee leaving a job – having resigned or otherwise had their employment terminated – is instructed to stay away from work during the notice period, while still remaining on the payroll.’
Jason officially left Canon, following several month’s ‘garden leave’ at the end of September, after 13 years. Andrew Giles, whose official title was ‘General Manager – PR, Communications & Consumer Experience’, left some time prior to July 23, after 15 years.
‘During that time, Andrew led countless award-winning PR campaigns, showcased strategic expertise in driving the Canon Collective experience program, and was a trusted advisor and business leader.’
‘Both Jason and Andrew will be greatly missed, and Canon wishes them all the best,’ Canon stated.
Jason was, perhaps unsurprisingly, critical of the changes at Canon: ‘To all my comrades who have been needlessly cast aside..I’m sorry..but time is always the ultimate judge of good or bad decisions….or good or bad leadership,’ he wrote.
Canon has opted to not issue any press announcements regarding what has been the most dramatic change of structure in decades from the largest company in the photo industry, and has been episodic in communications with various stakeholders. The full picture has been challenging to piece together, and even now we don’t know how many jobs have been lost.
‘Various announcements on the formation of the SSG division have been made to business partners, customers, clients and stakeholders who were affected by our business changes over the past few months,’ Canon explained when we asked why there had been no public announcements. ‘On the consumer front, when reporting on the formation of the SSG division in August, Inside Imaging itself stated, “Canon’s internal structure in itself is of little interest to its retail customers” and we agree. The high standard of services, support and products consumers expect from Canon continues unchanged.’
(The full sentence we wrote was: ‘While Canon’s internal structure in itself is of little interest to its retail customers, stripping out the field sales rep role “to streamline our relationships with retail partners” is of greater impact.’)
‘From 1 September 2020, we will have three field account managers to service the network of stores nationwide and will no longer have traditional field sales roles,’ Aaron Berthelot, general manager, Sales, wrote to retailers on August 7. The network of authorised resellers runs to hundreds of stores.
When we asked: Jason was one of, if not the, most prominent senior executive in the photo industry. Is there a reason why there wasn’t an official announcement? Canon responded:
An official letter stating that Jason McLean would be leaving Canon Australia after 13 years of leadership was delivered to our partners, customers, clients and stakeholders on 16 June 2020. The letter outlined Canon Australia’s strategic decision to strengthen our business by combining our Consumer Imaging & Services division (CIS) with the Business Imaging Solutions division (BIS) to drive greater efficiencies and achieve consistency across the organisation. The new business unit is called Sales and Support Group (SSG).
The letter announced that our Managing Director, Mr. Dave Yoshida has appointed Mr. Mike Murase as the Senior Director – Sales & Support Group to lead this new business unit, with Mike’s role to commence immediately. Mike’s career at Canon spans 33 years across various Canon markets, making him a highly capable and knowledgeable Canon leader to drive the new division forward. Before assuming the role of Senior Director – Sales & Support Group, Mike’s most recent position was Senior Director of the Canon Business Imaging Solutions division, Canon Australia.
The letter confirmed that as a result, Jason McLean would be leaving the business. Jason was acknowledged for his strong leadership of the Canon Consumer Imaging business over the past 13 years and was recognised for the significant impact he had on the broader industry.
In his informal announcement, republished above, Jason McLean states: ‘No time to spruik how good we were in relation to the rest of the Canon world…but those who know…know.’
Canon Australia was not only the unchallenged market leader in Australia under his watch, but was focussed on developing new initiatives to generate more growth, as we outline in this story: Canon goes its own way.