Fresh Out of Bankruptcy, Gibson Guitar Announces Its New Executive Team

Gibson Guitar's post-bankruptcy leadership (l to r): Kim Mattoon (Chief Financial Officer); JC Curleigh (Chief Executive Officer); Cesar Gueikian, (Chief Merchant Officer) (photo: Gibson Brands, Inc.)

Gibson Guitar’s post-bankruptcy leadership (l to r): Kim Mattoon (Chief Financial Officer); JC Curleigh (Chief Executive Officer); Cesar Gueikian, (Chief Merchant Officer) (photo: Gibson Brands, Inc.)

It’s been a really rough year.  But Gibson Brands Inc. is about to emerge from bankruptcy protection with a new executive team.

Gibson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year while under the leadership of CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.  The bankruptcy was rumored for months, with lots of in-fighting between Juszkiewicz and a cast of frustrated creditors.  Ultimately, the latter group plunged the company into bankruptcy, forcing Juszkiewicz to the margins and taking financial control over the company.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved a restructuring plan.  A few weeks later, the refreshed Gibson has announced its new executive cast.

At the helm, JC Curleigh will succeed Juszkiewicz as president and CEO of the company.  He previously served as the president of Levi Strauss & Co.

“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,” Curleigh remarked.  “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.

Here’s a quick look at the incoming executive leadership team, with the appointments taking effect on November 1st.

  • JC Curleigh, Chief Executive Officer
  • Cesar Gueikian, Chief Merchant Officer
  • Kim Mattoon, Chief Financial Officer
  • Christian Schmitzas, Chief Production Officer

Gibson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May after years of decline.

Bankruptcy filings subsequently revealed that the company was juggling north of $500 million in debt.  As part of its restructuring, Gibson and its lenders have agreed to a debtor in possession loan of up to $135 million to continue funding operations under the new executive team.

Curleigh will lead the new executive team as Gibson tries to rebuild its storied brand.  That’s not the easiest task, given numerous complaints of declining workmanship and defecting artists over the years.  “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,” Curleigh said.  “I look forward to leading Gibson confidently into the future.”

KKR will be the majority owner of Gibson when it emerges from bankruptcy protection on November 1st. The group will have a controlling interest in the company.

5 Responses

  1. RGB

    It will take a miracle to turn that company around from the disaster Henry J turned it in to. They would literally have to start building better guitars than they EVER have in their history to get people interested in them again. Not sure the new leadership truly understand how damaged that company is among guitarists.

  2. James Patrick Page

    One word – Robo Tuners! Bring those magnificent beauties back! That will save Gibson!

  3. Doug

    You have to win the hearts of the people once again to do that you have to build product that exceeds everyone’s expectation you’ll have to build guitars like they did many years ago Les machines more Hands-On gaining confidence will take many years there’s an old saying a Forest takes 40 years to grow but a match can burn it down in 20 minutes so you’re going to have to build people’s confidence over time and build trust the old-fashioned way one day at a time

    • D b

      Wow….is Gibson going to chime in? Are they even reading these comments?

  4. D b

    I stand corrected…. have you guys seen the 2019 ebony …. yes real ebony fretbords? Holy smokes … I’m getting gibson excitement … like back in the good wood years!!