Industry Legend Harry Elias, Former JVC Executive, Dies
Harry Elias, a seminal consumer electronics industry figure who helped to build a market for the JVC brand during the wave of Japanese-made consumer electronics products’ journey to prominence in America during the 1980s and 1990s, died on Nov. 12. He was in his late 80s.
For more than three decades, Elias was one of the chief liaisons between Victor Company of Japan’s U.S.-vended product lines and American retailers. From 1995 to 2003, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for JVC, and in 2003, was appointed Chairman of JVC Company of America. He retired from there in 2004 to take on a chairmanship at Akai Musical Instrument Corp. and a Board of Directors position at N.J.-based independent clinical medical laboratory Bio-Reference Laboratories, with, according to the company’s announcement of his appointment, “a focus on revenue enhancement and market share expansion.”
Elias was born Brooklyn, N.Y., and started his career as a retail salesman for Vim’s electronics store, where he worked for 10 years. From there, he joined JVC, a then-fledgling, relatively unknown company in the U.S., as a salesman, and in his role there, helped to turn JVC into a recognizable brand name and a CE powerhouse.
Elias served as Chairman of the Video Division of the Consumer Electronics Association, now the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and was a member of the CEA Board of Directors.
“He was an industry legend, served on the CTA Board of Industry Leaders and always had ideas on how to make us better,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA.