Finally, some positive news for iconic guitar company Gibson as their devastating slip into bankruptcy is set to come to an end.
For over 100 years one of the forewords in the guitar industry was Gibson. Their iconic guitars have been played by some of the biggest rock stars all around the world and, for some considerable amount of time, it looked as though the company was in ruins having declared for bankruptcy.
Despite CEO Henry Juszkiewicz attempting to assure fans that the debt was run of the mill, he then suggested the situation was more likely an ‘internal coup’ in a bid to wrestle ownership. However, liquidation was soon confirmed as the reported $500 million debt took over and staff were made redundant.
However, it has now been revealed that the global investment company KKR will become the majority owner of Gibson. To coincide with the news, the new investors have instantly appointed James Curleigh, who will become president and chief executive officer. With the likes of Mars and Levis on his CV, Curleigh said in a press release: “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.
“Gibson has been a pioneer of craftsmanship and innovation in musical instruments and has been synonymous with shaping the sounds of generations and genres for more than 100 years. I am very honoured to play a leading role with this iconic 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.”
It has also been reported that CEO Juszkiewicz, who has been defiant in his refusal to step down, will work the remaining year of his contract in order to ease the transition into the new format for Gibson.
As well as bringing in Curleigh, the company have announced the recruitment of the new chief merchant officer Cesar Gueikian. Gibson said Gueikian “will be responsible for our product portfolio, sales, entertainment relations and marketing strategies.”
The company shakeup also includes the introduction of Kim Mattoon, taking up the position of Gibson’s new chief financial officer. “Kim joins Gibson with nearly 25 years of experience connecting great consumer brand products with consumers,” the company said.
Nat Zilkha, incoming Chairman of Gibson’s Board of Directors and representing the new majority ownership group, said, “JC’s track record speaks for itself – he’s a rock star when it comes to understanding consumers and shaping a marketplace, working with retail partners and building world-class brands. JC, Cesar, Kim and Christian bring new energy and vision to Gibson, fueled by an authentic passion for the company and music.
“On behalf of Gibson’s Board of Directors, I look forward to partnering with them to help Gibson achieve its strategic vision and forge a successful, bright future for the Company and all of its stakeholders.”