Collectively holding their breath for the last few months, the guitar community finally received an answer to who would run the classic Gibson Guitars brand. After the ousting of embattled CEO Henry Juszkiewicz in September and a difficult year which saw the company file for bankruptcy, Gibson announced a host of new appointments in a press release earlier today. The answer? Former president of Levi Strauss & Co and guitar enthusiast James “JC” Curleigh as the new CEO and face of the Gibson brand.
The Beginning of a New Era
With the announcement, JC took right to stating his vision for the brand. “As a business leader and a brand builder, this is the beginning of a new era for Gibson that will build on its proven heritage and iconic status. We are focusing on the future and off to a fresh start, with a strong financial foundation, a committed and experienced new leadership team and new ownership that is equally passionate about the brand. As the industry leader, we have an opportunity and an obligation to set the best conditions for success for our brands, our fans, our partners and our own extended team. I look forward to leading Gibson confidently into the future.”
He isn’t new to the brand either, saying he has owned both Gibson and Epiphone guitars over the years. When given a chance to speak of his collection, JC stated, “As a musician, I have always treasured my Gibson guitars and I have the utmost respect for the iconic Gibson brand and those who choose to play Gibson guitars”.
History of Turnarounds
Although Gibson's troubles are not behind them, this move is primarily being seen in a positive light. JC Curleigh’s reputation has been made on rebuilding brand image and in the case of Levi's, he was able to guide their iconic brand into the modern age. In his time there, Levi's saw a reemergence of their place in the clothing industry and consistent annual growth throughout his tenure.
"As a musician, I have always treasured my Gibson guitars and I have the utmost respect for the iconic Gibson brand and those who choose to play Gibson guitars."
This, along with other changes under new management, show signs of a new age for Gibson that has a lot of guitarists excited to see what comes next. JC will take the reins on November 1st along with a host of new upper management figures including Cesar Gueikian as chief merchant officer (CMO), Kim Mattoon as chief financial officer (CFO) and Christian Schmitz as chief production officer (CPO).