Fender Continues to Search for a CEO


Fender Musical Instruments Corp. continues to search for a new CEO a year after installing interim CEO Scott Gilbertson.

Gilbertson took the post in April 2014 after CEO Larry Thomas announced he would retire in May of last year. In February 2014, Fender named Bob Roback as president as well as a member of the board of directors. His role as president was short-lived, however, ending in the summer through a "mutually agreed-upon decision," according to a company insider. Roback is still a board member.

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The company has been rumored to have had shakeups in recent months, but a company spokesman says Fender is handling business as usual. The company has operated in the past without a president and the search for a new CEO is active.

Thomas was at the helm when Fender explored an IPO in 2012 that was expected to raise $150 million for the company and its biggest shareholder, San Francisco-based private equity firm Weston Presidio, which bought into the company in 2001. The company rescinded the IPO after potential investors expressed concerns over the company's debt load and a poor outlook for the future of musical instruments.

In recent years, the company has touted the legacy of its instruments, specifically the 50th anniversary of the Stratocaster in 2007 and the Telecaster, which turned 60 in 2010. Fender, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 1991, continues to build guitars in Corona, Calif.


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