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Gibson Guitar CEO—The anatomy of a turnaround; Gibson’s rocketing success is built on engaging employees and community

James Curleigh @ GIbson Garage.jpeg
Thomas Wilmer
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James (JC) Curleigh CEO of Gibson Guitar Company at the new Gibson Garage experiential venue in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Nashville, Tennessee for a visit with James (J.C.) Curleigh, CEO of Gibson Guitar Company at the new Gibson Garage.

Curleigh shares tales of his incredible life journey that includes a stint as a musician in England, management with M&M Mars, Salomon Sportswear, Keen Shoes, and subsequently CEO of Levi Strauss & Company before accepting the challenge to take the helm of Gibson in 2018 when the company had just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

The seeds of Curleigh’s passion for music were instilled as a child by his parents—with mom playing her Epiphone acoustic guitar and his Canadian Naval pilot dad accompanying mom on his banjo.

Central to Curleigh’s business model at Gibson is an ongoing engagement with and support of school music programs and musicians. When the devastating tornado trashed Nashville, Curleigh set in motion an offer of a free guitar for any local resident whose guitar had been destroyed by the hurricane.

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Gisbson Guitar Corporation
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Gibson Guitar's iconic Ephiphone brand

More than 250 guitars have been gifted to local musicians who lost their guitars in the March 3, 2020 tornado. Additionally, in a two-year period Gibson gifted more than 3,0000 guitars to musicians nationwide through their Gibson Gives program.

Gibson Garage Interior-1-2.jpeg
Gibson Guitar Corporation
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Gibson Garage, Nashville interior

Come along and join Curleigh as he shares his incredible life journey and discover how he has infused Gibson with an intrinsic greater-good mission.

Funding for Journeys of Discovery provided by Nashville's Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast.

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Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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