Gibson Guitar factory in Nashville

Gibson Brands President and CEO James “JC” Curleigh is leaving the company and stepping down from its board.

The iconic Nashville-based guitar maker announced Tuesday that its board had named Cesar Gueikian, brand president at the company, as president and interim CEO, effective immediately.

Cesar Gueikian

Cesar Gueikian

Gueikian joined Gibson as chief merchant officer in 2018 and was named brand president in 2021.

Curleigh had been CEO since 2018, when he joined the company emerging from bankruptcy from Levi's. Gibson moved its headquarters to Cummins Station the following year.

“We are transitioning to new leadership at a time of strength to ensure the company continues its momentum and is well-positioned to execute on its next phase of growth,” said Nat Zilkha, board chair. “Cesar has played a huge role in the company’s recent success, including securing critical artist partnerships and overseeing the evolution of many of our most iconic product lines, and the board has full confidence in his leadership.”

No specific reason was given for Curleigh’s departure, though he said he is “ready for [his] next challenge,” and Zilkha thanked the executive “for helping to return Gibson to its status as an iconic brand.” 

Gueikian, a guitarist and songwriter, previously co-founded Melody Capital Partners and worked at UBS and Deutsche Bank.