Guitar Center has named longtime GC executive Gene Joly as the new President of its Musician’s Friend (MF) division. MF is the largest direct-response retailer of musical instruments and professional audio equipment in the U.S. The announcement was made by Mike Pratt, Guitar Center’s CEO, and, according to the company, underscores GC’s long-term strategic multi-channel business model. In his new position, Joly will be responsible for guiding the direction of Musician’s Friend while capitalizing on his extensive experience in merchandising, vendor relations, distribution, supply management and direct marketing. Prior to his appointment, Joly was Guitar Center’s Executive Vice President of Stores, a position he held since 2008. Replacing him as the new Senior Vice President of Stores will be longtime GC ops vet Kevin Kazubowski.
Pratt said, “There’s no doubt that Gene is the man to lead Musician’s Friend and our Music 123 Business into a bold new direction as 2014 approaches. Over his 38-year career in the MI industry, he has earned the respect and trust of our entire organization and countless others across our industry. I’m looking forward to watching Gene put his own unique stamp on the company as its next President, and I wish him continued success.”
Joly said, “The opportunity to lead Musician’s Friend is both exciting and bittersweet for me. Over the last five years, I’ve been hard at work on a host of transformational business projects with the help of an exceptional Guitar Center team. These folks mean a great deal to me. At the same time, I relish the opportunity to work with my new MF team, which includes some of the all-time greats from the Medford OR campus. We’re going to take the direct business to a whole new level.”