Skip to main content

Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz: “My dream was to be the Nike of music lifestyle… I have to cut back on that ambition, frankly”

(Image credit: Shahar Azran/WireImage/Getty)

Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO at struggling guitar company Gibson, has conceded his strategy to expand Gibson Brands hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

In a report from the Los Angeles Times, Juszkiewicz admitted, “My dream was to be the Nike of music lifestyle. At this point, I have to cut back on that ambition, frankly.”

The article also fans the flames of rumours that investors want Juszkiewicz out, while providing a reminder that up to $560 million of debt is due in the summer.

Gibson: how did we get here?

A series of damning quotes also feature, including Nashville-based Gruhn Guitars owner George Gruhn, who states, “You have to eat so much garbage in order to be a Gibson dealer that it's not worth it.”

Juszkiewicz has previously pinned the blame for the company’s financial troubles on “problems with the guitar retail industry” and “purists”, although he has now acknowledged the company’s hit-and-miss acquisitions, telling the LA Times, “We got sort of a grab bag full of stuff, and some of it really did make sense, but some of it was very unprofitable.”

Recent sell-offs include Cakewalk music software, which was recently purchased by BandLab, and Gibson’s iconic Memphis factory, which has now been sold to private equity firms Somera Road and Tricera Capital for $14.1 million.

The guitar giant’s current strategy is to “focus its Philips brand consumer audio business on those products that have greater growth potential” - its audio brand roster includes KRK Systems, TASCAM, Cerwin-Vega!, Stanton, Onkyo, Integra, TEAC, TASCAM Professional Software, and Esoteric.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.