Gibson Brands Inc. named James “JC” Curleigh as president and CEO. 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 chief financial officer; and Christian Schmitz as CPO (chief production officer). The appointments of Curleigh and the new Gibson senior team are effective Nov. 1.
“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. I am very honored to play a leading role with this iconic brand.”
Added Curleigh: “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.”
“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,” said Nat Zilkha, incoming Chairman of Gibson’s Board of Directors and representing the new majority ownership group (KKR).
Gibson also affirmed it will emerge from bankruptcy protection on Nov. 1. Upon emergence, KKR will be the majority owner with the controlling interest of the company. KKR is a global investment firm that has an extensive track record of successful investments in the retail and consumer industries, helping its portfolio companies achieve sustainable long-term growth.