Henry Juszkiewicz

Class of 2015

Henry Juszkiewicz (b. 1953) is chairman and CEO of The Gibson Guitar Corporation, which he acquired in 1986 with his business partners. He has taken the iconic American instrument company, which is headquartered in Nashville, far beyond its expected destiny. He is credited with saving the 121-year-old company, which has rebounded under his leadership from its lowest point with 70 employees to its current workforce of more than 1,200 — with all guitars made in the United States.

Juszkiewicz grew up in Rochester, graduated from Bishop Kearney High School, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute and an MBA from Harvard University.

With a passion for music and superior academic skills, he worked his way through school playing guitar — a Gibson, of course — in various rock bands playing for parties and weddings.

After a successful career in the auto industry and working with mergers and acquisitions, he purchased the struggling Gibson guitar operation when he was 33-years-old. Juszkiewicz’s aggressive management style resulted in an immediate turnaround, and Gibson became profitable within a month’s time.

With creative and innovative marketing tactics he concentrated on the consumer rather than the retailer — a reflection of his personal experience as a guitar player. Refocusing the company on achieving the highest possible standards of quality and customer service, he drove Gibson from the brink of closing to a company that has regained worldwide respect with annual average growth of 20 percent over the last decade.

Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Juszkiewicz began fulfilling his vision of Gibson as a full-line, global musical instrument company by acquiring other instrument companies and establishing a Gibson-owned European distribution center with joint-venture distributors.

He dedicated a standalone division to R&D, resulting in the introduction of the world’s first digital guitar and the Gibson Robot Guitar, both of which represent the biggest advance in guitar technology since the invention of the electric guitar more than 70 years ago. He continues to expand the company worldwide with new consumer electronics accessories, the acquisition of the Wurlitzer Jukebox company.

Juszkiewicz is a board member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Rainforest Alliance, and the We Are Family Foundation. He is a co- founder of Music Rising, a campaign to help aid musicians, schools and churches of the Gulf Coast, and also supports organizations that provide music therapy for children with disabilities.