×

Gibson Guitars Announces New CEO, Leadership Team

Gibson Brands Inc., the iconic but troubled guitar brand that recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announced on Tuesday the appointment of James “JC” Curleigh as president and chief executive officer. Curleigh joins Gibson from Levi Strauss & Co., where he served as president of the Levi’s brand, and was a member of its worldwide leadership team.

Gibson also announced the appointments of Cesar Gueikian as CMO (chief merchant officer); Kim Mattoon as CFO (chief financial officer); and Christian Schmitzas CPO (chief production officer).

The appointments of Curleigh and the new Gibson senior team are effective Nov.1.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May after several years of decline under former CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. The petition estimated up to $500 million in debt, according to Bloomberg, and the lenders have agreed to an operating, or “debtor in possession,” loan of up to $135 million to fund operations.

According to the announcement, Curleigh will lead “a new Gibson senior team of proven global professionals with broad experience across brand building, product quality and innovation, and business development to establish operational excellence and build a strong team dynamic across the enterprise.”

“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,” said Curleigh. “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.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

Nat Zilkha, incoming Chairman of Gibson’s Board of Directors and representing the new majority ownership group (KKR), 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 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.”

A life-long guitarist and Gibson collector, Gueikian joins the Company as the new chief merchant officer (CMO) after a 20-year career as an entrepreneur and financier, investing in the growth of companies around the world. He has led teams at global investment houses culminating with the founding and successful growth of his own firm. In his role, Gueikian will focus on product and its evolution, commercial solutions and connecting fans through marketing strategies to drive profitable growth.

As CFO, Mattoon will support Gibson by ensuring the company builds and maintains the financial, human and other resources necessary to sustain a growth trajectory and invest in the future. She joins Gibson from Richemont North America where she served as chief operating officer.

As chief production officer, Christian Schmitz will take on the challenge of driving best practices in manufacturing, creating supply chain synergy and establishing operational excellence across Gibson’s U.S. and global production platform. Schmitz has been a key member of the transition team at Gibson over the past year.

Gibson will emerge from bankruptcy protection on November 1, 2018. Upon emergence, KKR will be the majority owner with the controlling interest of the Company.

More Music

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Nick Tosches, Author of Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis Biographies, Dies at 69

    Some time around the turn of the century, author Nick Tosches prankishly hacked his own online biography so that it gave his death date as the year 2021 — picked, he said, because “it was the anniversary of Dante’s death (in 1321); it made so much sense.” He wasn’t too many years off with that [...]

  • Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike

    Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Take No. 1 Spot on Top 100 DJs Poll

    The duo of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike top DJ Mag’s 2019 Top 100 DJs poll, returning to the list since taking the No. 1 spot in 2015 and dethroning Martin Garrix after three years of dominance. The results of the Top 100 DJs were arrived at from 1.3 million votes cast in 179 countries. [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

  • Marc Byers

    Execs from Motown, Live Nation, Recording Academy Set to Speak at Culture Creators' Inaugural C2 Summit

    Culture Creators, the organization which recognizes minorities in film, television, music and fashion, is holding its first-ever C2 Summit on Oct. 21 in Washington D.C. Its mission: to engage, mentor, and provide recruitment opportunities to students of color attending historically black colleges and universities. Students were selected from an application process and will participate in [...]

  • Rami Dawod SESAC

    SESAC Toasts Rami Dawod as Pop Songwriter of the Year

    Camila Cabello’s “Never Be The Same” and “Electricity” by Mark Ronson and Silk City featuring Dua Lipa are just a few of the co-writing credits celebrated during an October 16 dinner at Nobu Malibu hosted by SESAC in honor of Rami Dawod. Named Pop Songwriter of the Year by the performance rights organization, Dawod is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content