Fender’s Larry Thomas to Retire as CEO
Larry Thomas has announced his retirement from Fender effective May 31st, 2014. Interim COO Scott Gilbertson will assume the role of interim CEO while the company finds a successor.
During his three plus years as CEO, Thomas presided over the release of the Fender Select series, the Fender American Vintage series and the American Design Experience. He was also instrumental in opening Fender’s 8,400 square foot visiting center in Corona, California.
“I am extremely proud of the success we have achieved in my time at Fender,” said Thomas. “We did a lot in just a few years and I leave feeling like our table is set for the company’s future direction. This has truly been a wonderful life-experience. FMIC is a wonderful company and Fender is a great brand, and I am very thankful to have played a part in the company’s history.”
Thomas began his music career in 1971, working with instrument importer/wholesaler Buegeleisen and Jacobson. He joined Guitar Center in 1977 as a salesperson, then rose to store manager, regional manager, general manager, president and ultimately chairman and CEO.
Larry with Phyllis Fender
As a guitar player himself, Larry Thomas said he felt like a “kid in a candy store” at Fender: “Seeing beautiful guitars being made and seeing the pride on the factory floor gave me goose bumps. It was the source of the Fender magic.”