New Gibson CEO James Curleigh
Image: Alessia Pierdomenico / Bloomberg via Getty Images

After a much-publicised search for a new CEO, Gibson Brands has announced the successor to Henry Juszkiewicz. James ‘JC’ Curleigh, former president of global brands at Levi Strauss & Co, will take over the reins of the guitar titan as its president and CEO effective 1 November.

The announcement, which comes only a few weeks after a Delaware court approved Gibson’s Chapter 11 restructuring plans, marks the official end of Juszkiewicz’s 32-year reign. As the leader of a new era in the company’s history, Curleigh will be responsible for developing the brand, ensuring product quality and innovation, establishing operational efficiency, and hoisting the Gibson flag to even greater heights across the world.

“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 honoured to play a leading role with this iconic brand.”

Curleigh is a newcomer to the musical instruments industry. The Harvard Business School alum has spent the majority of his career leading sportswear brands such as Salomon and KEEN before joining Levi Strauss in 2012.

Over the six successful years there, he re-established Levi’s as a global powerhouse, rebuilding the storied denim brand into a relevant, youthful and commercially successful one – while preserving its cherished authenticity and heritage.

It’s a formula that Curleigh hopes to replicate at Gibson. “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,” he said.

Curleigh is one of four key appointments Gibson has announced. Joining him are Cesar Gueikian as chief merchant officer, Kim Mattoon as chief financial officer, and Christian Schmitz as chief production officer.

This is a developing story, which we will update as we learn more.