James "JC" Curleigh; Photo courtesy of Gibson Brands

Gibson Appoints New CEO, Senior Team

Gibson Brands has named James "JC" Curleigh, formerly president of global brands at Levi Strauss, its new president and CEO, replacing Henry Juszkiewicz. Other appointments Gibson announced Oct. 23 include Cesar Gueikian as chief merchant officer, Kim Mattoon as chief financial officer and Christian Schmitz as chief production officer.

"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," Curleigh said in a statement. "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."

"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."

According to company representatives, the appointments of Curleigh and the new senior team took effect Nov. 1, the day the company emerged from bankruptcy protection. Global investment firm KKR is now the majority owner with the controlling interest of the company.