Hail Cesar: what now for Gibson as JC Curleigh steps down and Brand President Cesar Gueikian takes over as Interim CEO

Cesar Gueikian plays with Better Than Ezra during day one of the 2022 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2022 in Franklin, Tennessee.
(Image credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival)

Cesar Gueikian will take over as Gibson's Interim CEO following the announcement that James 'JC' Curleigh is moving on from the company and will step down as a director. But what will that mean for the guitar giant? 

“It has been a privilege to lead Gibson, and I’m tremendously proud of what we accomplished as a team,” said Curleigh, who took on the CEO role at Gibson during a crucial period of change in 2018. “I am ready for my next challenge and want to thank the Board and the Gibson team for the opportunity to guide this company. I look forward to seeing all they will accomplish in the future.”

JC Curleigh, Cesar Guekian and Billy Gibbons in 2019

(Image credit: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for Gibson Guitars)

Gueikian was appointed as Gibson chief merchant officer in 2018 and moved into the Brand President role in 2018. A lifelong guitarist and keen Gibson collector, he has been instrumental in the company's direction following a tumultuous period under former CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.

"I am honored to take on the responsibility of president and interim chief executive officer," said Gueikian. "I started learning to play guitar when I was 10 years old and all I wanted was a Gibson. Today, I get to marry my business background with my biggest passion, which is not just music and guitars, but Gibson guitars. I look forward to being a custodian of our iconic past and even better steward of our future. Let’s shape the sound of music for the next 100 years together!"


(Image credit: Gibson)

Gueikian has been influential in celebrating Gibson players such Tony Iommi, Tool's Adam Jones, Jerry Cantrell and Metallica's Kirk Hammett. His direction and personability with artists have helped to carve out the concept of signature relationships that extend beyond just a couple of models and encompass the Gibson and Epiphone brands with bespoke approaches. In the case of Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, who was brought into the Gibson signature fold for the first time in 2021, it has included the company's Kramer brand too.

His love of vintage guitars and eye for detail seems to have inspired a doubling down on high-end limited editions, recently seen with the $19,999 Custom Shop Kirk Hammett Greeny model, but also the raising of Epiphone offerings into a more premium realm alongside talented Senior Director of Product Development Mat Koehler. 

We don't see this changing anytime soon, and Gueikian's interest in reviving blueprints from the sizeable Gibson vault, such as the Theodore and the soundhole for the Gibson Generation acoustic guitars, is especially intriguing. 

But one of the next challenges for the Interim CEO will not be guitars, as Gueikian suggested to us last year, the return of Gibson amps is on the horizon. He's going to have a busy 2023. 


Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.