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Gibson Henry Juskiewicz Firebird X

Gibson Henry Juskiewicz with his Firebird X  ·  Source: Gibson/Far Out magazine

Bloomberg has reported that a group of Gibson’s creditors want a new CEO installed before they offer a rescue deal to the floundering American guitar giant.

Rescue Deal

Financially, it’s been a horrendous couple of years for Gibson USA. The once-great American guitar maker is in serious trouble. Now Bloomberg has reported that a group of bondholders advised by PJT Partners Inc are pushing for a new leadership at Gibson as a precondition to offering it a financial lifeline. Bloomberg says these bondholders control more than two-thirds of Gibson’s outstanding notes. If they get their way, we could see the departure of CEO Henry Juszkiewicz and his top-level management.

Custom Shop Layoffs

This news comes after the Nashville Post this week reported that 15 senior staff, including supervisors, at Gibson’s Custom Shop were laid off on Monday. This is probably part of Henry Juszkiewicz’s cost-cutting plan to be able to refinance the debt in July. That’s not good news, by any measure.

Gibson’s CEO has also been quoted recently proffering his opinion that the decline of sales is more to do with the way guitars are sold by retailers rather than issues or decisions for which Gibson is responsible. In this article in Music Instrument News, he blames retailers for the decline in guitar sales.

‘”All of the retailers are fearful as can be; they’re all afraid of e-commerce, with Amazon just becoming the second largest employer in the US, and the brick and mortar guys are just panicking. They see the trend, and that trend isn’t taking them to a good place, and they’re all wondering if there will be a world for brick and mortar stores for much longer. It’s a turbulent world to be a retailer, and many of our retail partners are facing that same issue.”‘

Purists

He also blames “purists” for being “stuck in a time warp” in terms of the guitars they buy and has been trying to justify modern innovations and stylings which like the Firebird X, Robot Tuners:

“[The industry is] stuck in a time warp, and the ‘purists’ have a very loud voice on the online forums. If you are a kid today, you have an iPad by the age of two, and if you’re not offering new technology you’re old. Kids today may think some music from the 50s is kind of cool here and there, but what other industry do you know that hasn’t changed since the 50s? Those guitars from the 50s are what the purists want, but we have to have something new and exciting. Imagine if the camera had never changed. Innovation is a part of every business to some degree, but [the guitar industry] hates it. The kids demand it, and if you don’t have it, they walk.”‘

Death Of a Giant

Let’s be clear that the previous owners, Norlin Group, didn’t exactly do Gibson any favours. When Henry and his group bought Gibson from them in 1986, it was a case of rescuing a dying giant.

But 32 years later it would appear that the vultures are circling once more. Now, Henry is no Steve Jobs. Yet he seems to think that somehow he can do for Gibson what Jobs did for Apple. I beg to differ. I feel that he’s steered the company into financial difficulties by not listening to what the players actually want.

Video

by Jef

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William Paxson
Guest

Rumors from here on the west side of the pond have Yamaha, Shiro Ari, Hartley Peavey, and a unnamed Chinese financial consortium sniffing around Gibson. Looks like things are getting lively. Money here says this show is just getting started. Cheers, mates.


Code
Guest

Wait, so blaming everyone and everything but himself and firing a handful of people didn’t magically fix all the problems??

I’m shocked.


Taylor
Guest

I really hope they get him out, he hasn’t got a clue… also, never realised until this video that he can’t play for shit and has the most dreadful tone!!!


Guest-devil
Guest

This guy is a schmuck. Huckster City. Believes his own balogna. Can’t play. Can’t keep one of the most iconic and important musical instrument manufacturers breaking even at the least.
Get him out.


Wilbert Kieboom
Guest

Please check my article regarding Gibson on my Linkedin profile. This is a response to all statements made by Henri Juszkiewicz. http://linkedin.com/in/wilbert-kieboom-20253830


Wilbert kieboom
Guest

kieboomps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gibson-what-wrong-wilbert-kieboom


Thor Corsius
Guest

Article by Wilbert Kieboom: In August 2017 I wrote about the fact that over the past three years, Gibson’s annual revenue had fallen from $2.1 billion to $1.7 billion, according to data as reflected by Music Trades magazine and internet publications. The company’s 2014 purchase of Philips’s audio division for $135 million led to debt — how much, the company at that time did not want to say — and further there was a Moody’s downgrading last year. Recently we have seen further down grades of big players such as Gibson based upon their performance with a lot of rumours.… Read more »


Patrick Henry
Guest

Hes got to go.


Lipo Davis
Guest

I love Gibson guitars and I’ll be sorry if they go out of business.


William Paxson
Guest

More bad news about Gibson as it is reported that Gibson is now planning an overall 12-15% cut/reduction of their workforce.


Trevor
Guest

I’m upset with Gibson for flooding the market with guitars containing non value add features that no one wants to buy and increasing prices. Not a very “Steve Job” move for this self proclaimed innovater CEO. He should have been fired a long time ago.


Speeder
Guest

Well said, Trevor! I to don’t care for any of that new-fangled junk either and yes, Henry should’ve been fired a long time ago. I also don’t care for the Swiss-cheese weight relieving of their Les Paul line. I have a ’73, ’75, two ’77s and a ’79 all of which weight a ton but the tone is awesome. The weight relieved Les Pauls to me just sound a bit anemic and weak. Gibson claimed that was a “customer driven issue” but in over 36 years of playing guitar I have yet to come across anyone who asked for that!


William Paxson
Guest

Regarding the Les Paul “weight” issue, it has been recently reported by reputable sources like luthier John Suhr that most if not all of the “light” 50’s ‘Bursts’ were NOT made with Honduran Mahogany but actually made with African Mahogany (Khaya) which generally runs much lighter and that documents exist at Gibson to verify that. So the Les Paul “weight” issue could have been easily solved without turning the guitar into a “semi-solid” as nobody has ever accused “50’s ‘Bursts’ of being “anemic” or “weak”.


John Sandlin
Guest

That’s right, Henry, blame everyone except yourself – including your customers. 1) The Robo Tuners did not work well. 2) The quality of the materials lead to guitars that did not stay in tune (thus needing the Robo Tuners that didn’t work). 3) Those nice looking new guitars probably weren’t given much of a chance because they were either over priced for the quality or just not as nice as you thought!. Other companies make equal or better quality guitars for about half the cost, sometimes one quarter the cost of the current generation Gibson guitars – or at least… Read more »


Speeder
Guest

I agree 100%; “King” Henry has to go! He did a lot of good for Gibson when he took over from the awful Norlin years but here in the last couple decades he seems to be more lost than a blind man in a blizzard and hasn’t got a clue as to what to do about it. What further compounds this is he’s blaming everyone else except himself for Gibson’s falling popularity. I sincerely hope Gibson weathers this storm and rises like a phoenix from the ashes stronger than before but if they don’t run Henry Juszkiewicz off, throw all… Read more »


elsongs
Guest

OMG, I play guitar WAY better than this fool, and I suck at guitar!


Ryan Hemming
Guest

Just make great Gibson guitars that are affordable! Not $3800 for a 335!


Danny
Guest

That video of him playing backstage leads me to believe he will live a very fruitful life as a studio musician and rockstar.


William Paxson
Guest

A couple of thoughts on the Gibson mess. One of the reasons Gibson is having problems refinancing their debt is that their debt-to-earnings ratio is 10x and in the US banks are not allowed make loans when the ratio is over 6x so Gibson has to try to do it thru bonds which are generally more expensive. Currently I believe Gibson is paying 8.75% on the bonds they have (the ones coming due this summer). Also it has been reported that the creditors have engaged Japanese attorneys to ascertain whether Gibson’s Japanese companies like TEAC (which is a publicly traded… Read more »


Gunars
Guest

Henry Juskiewicz Needs to be removed as CEO, before he totally destroys Gibson . Absolutely clueless and lack of vision, as to what direction the company needs to go. With his ridiculous auto tuning every guitar as so called moving forward with the times . omg what an idiot ! Not listening to his customers , never mind all the artists who have left and are leaving Gibson. Let Peavey or Yamaha with rumoured Joe Bonamassa also to bid for the company lead Gibson with tradition, craftsmanship , quality and bring treasured Gibson company back to Standard ! God Bless… Read more »