Alleged Gibson CEO Possibly Responds To $10k Contest Story

Brand new Consumerist reader Mosten posted a comment including the following response that’s allegedly from Gibson’s CEO regarding the $10,000 prize they never made good on to an NYC hip-hop artist. We have no way of verifying whether this response is legit, but thought it was worth sharing for those who are following the story.

“I will investigate this issue and get back to you as soon as I get the facts. Since its Friday it will probably be early next week [hopefully Monday].

I will tell you that Don Pitts is no longer with Gibson and has not been with us for some time.

I have no personal knowledge about this issue and I personally approve all promotions for the company. We have a formal system where any agent of Gibson needs to present a promotion, its benefits and its cost. This then needs to be approved by a least two people before it comes to my desk. We do take these commitments seriously, and we have very strict internal processes to insure we deliver on our promises.

Regardless, I will get to the bottom of this and we will get you what was legitimately promised.

I do not know who you talked to other than attempting to contact Don, but we do have people on the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week to solve any Gibson related issue [1-800-4-GIBSON]. While they do not have the authority to send you $10,000 worth of gear on the spot they are literally less than a minute from my office and should/could have resolved this in a very short period of time. If you had an unsatisfactory conversation with anyone else at Gibson, let me know so we can insure that this will not happen in the future.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to address this problem.”

Henry E. Juszkiewicz
Chief Executive Officer
Gibson Guitar Corp.
309 Plus Park

(Thanks to Mosten!)

“Gibson Screws Musician Out Of $10,000 Worth Of Equipment”
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. lightaugust says:

    Heck of a typo in the first paragraph for a CEO’s office. “Its” surprising this got by his office administrators.

  2. evarga says:

    A CEO who uses “insure” instead of “ensure”? Hopefully he (or his assistant, or the hoaxer) knows the differance. Or maybe they want to be insured against promotions gone airy?

  3. Sherryness says:

    Sounds fairly legit. It’s good to know he’s “taking it seriously” at least!

  4. Plaid Rabbit says:

    I saw that headline, and I was really suprised – Gibson is a huge brand in the Nashville area, at least – they’re everywhere…not just guitar shops. I have people who would take a bullet before having harm come to their Gibson, so to hear that they were shady on the back end was sad.

    This email looks legit to me, because of the typos.

  5. Imaginary_Friend says:

    All jokes aside, that’s pretty freaking awesome if they come through. You can’t hate on a CEO who steps up to right a wrong so quickly.

    Kudos to the Consumerist [and digg readers] for giving the story legs in the first place.

  6. ecwis says:

    @evarga: “differance”?

    I hope you spelled that wrong on purpose….

  7. ecwis says:

    @Plaid Rabbit: Exactly. I recently received an email from a CEO and he had several typos.

    It’s likely because they have a lot of other things to do and they don’t run the email by their secretaries, etc.

    They just want to get the email out. I don’t think most people care if there are minor typos as they are usually just glad to be hearing from the CEO.

  8. humphrmi says:

    The response is just a little pedantic:

    I do not know who you talked to other than attempting to contact Don, but we do have people on the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week to solve any Gibson related issue [1-800-4-GIBSON]. While they do not have the authority to send you $10,000 worth of gear on the spot they are literally less than a minute from my office and should/could have resolved this in a very short period of time.

    It sounds like he’s blaming the guy for not calling C.S. before posting on Consumerist. But didn’t the guy think he was dealing with an executive at Gibson? So, what, he should give up on working the problem at the top, and start at the bottom?

    Kudos to Gibson if they solve this. But C’mon, don’t blame the victim for your staff’s incompetence, if if they are former staff.

  9. VeeKaChu says:

    I’ve contracted in IT in multinational banks, for utilities and telcos, and correspondences from senior execs and the like are often riddled with grammatical errors and plain stupid typos.

    My theory is this- anything that needs to be ‘correct’ is vetted through a secretary or an AA, and everything else, well WTF, who’s gonna call them out on it?

  10. juniper says:

    I hope the winner gets the piano he always wanted – and a lot of press to boot. He was mega-talented at Lolla and rightfully won that contest.

  11. Joafu says:

    I’m glad to see he’s taking this matter seriously.

  12. socritic says:

    How about that “Hasn’t been with us for some time”, that leaves room to say he operated on his own will, a rogue psuedo Gibson rep who promotes the brand wild west style. Sounds sincere but the next response from Mr. Juszkiewicz better be fast, concise, and baring the responsibility regardless of the story. It would be cheapest in the long run, and whatever measures need to be taken in order to insure this doesn’t happen again will be implemented without much fanfare directly by management. in a perfect world.

  13. WraithSama says:

    They “take these commitments seriously”. I can’t help but crack up a little every time I see some variation of that in a corporate response.

    It’s like there’s some kind of official rulebook on corporate damage control that mandates a “taking it seriously” response from every company trying to avoid negative PR.

  14. balthisar says:

    @evarga: it’s a losing battle. One of my personal pet peeves, but it seems that the word “ensure” is disappearing from the English language.

  15. easy2panic says:

    If the letter is full of typos, then it was probably written by the big guy himself. Everyone knows that they got promoted to being boss by managing others, not by passing a speeling bee, that is what secretaries are for.

  16. scoosdad says:

    @ecwis: Goes good with “promotions gone airy” :-) j/k

  17. SexCpotatoes says:

    So is Gibson one of those rare companies with U.S. call center people, or is his office in India or someplace that the staff are ‘1 minute away from my desk?’

  18. ptkdude says:

    @evarga: Mixing up “insure” and “ensure” is rampant nowadays. It drives me absolutely crazy, so be sure to look for me at your local psych ward.

  19. ziptron says:

    For what it’s worth, that is the real name of Gibson’s CEO and, spelling issues or not, he’s got a reputation of being very hands-on.

  20. hpilot says:

    He is indeed very hands-on, I’m in Nashville and have several friends that have worked at Gibson that have plenty of “Henry” stories. I’m hoping he comes through for this poor guy that won, the company is full of (mostly) good people and I doubt an issue like this is the norm.

  21. XTC46 says:

    @humphrmi: it sounds like he is blaming his staff, not the guy. He is saying there is no excuse for them to not have resolved this.

  22. XTC46 says:

    @WraithSama: it IS a rule in damage control. You address the problem, assure your client that you are taking the issue seriously and are actively working on fixing it.

    Would you prefer they say “yea…we are dealing with it”

  23. leftystrat says:

    What a lovely bunch of coconuts.

    This is a company that seems to raise its prices quarterly.
    They also recently discontinued making a lot of their guitars left-handed.

    Guess I’ll stick with the more affordable, more comfortable, more left-handed Fenders. And my `lawsuit’ lefty Les Paul.

    If you hurry, you can get a new `59 reissue for the bargain price of $5995! It’s ok though – it comes with a case.

  24. XTC46 says:

    as far as this being legit…looks fine to me. As an IT consultant, I dealt with a lot of CEO and higher ups directly, most have lots of typos. They tend to be very busy, and working on several things at once. Any “official” or “to the public” type info goes through an assistant and sometimes other PR people to make sure spelling, grammar and legal wording of statements is correct. But quick responses to somone directly, in an informal manner tend to be very casual and becasue of that have some errors. Hell Im lucky if the CEO and deputy CEO of the company I work with now even answers my questions fully.

  25. manok says:

    As a man who emails constantly throughout the workday. I let typos get out but I don’t bother fixing them. Depends on who it’s going too. I can see how a CEO would have some mistakes, what does he care?

  26. Jon Parker says:

    I work for a large company, and it’s amazing how badly most of the execs spell when they’re not having their secretaries do the mailings.

  27. rolla says:

    please, the CEO is now doing PR control. I bet normally the CEO cant be bothered with situations like these. The only way he can make good is to give the guy what was promised to him.

  28. Echomatrix says:

    Its not the CEO’s job to get involved with everday stuff. Thats what CSR’s are for. Granted most of them are ignorant, but why should a CEO care. I’m in the military we “keep things at the lowest level”. If it gets resolved without the Col’s knowing, then everyones a winner.

    But theres no way this should have gotten to this level. Someones needs to be fired so Gibson can work on their credability again.

  29. Echomatrix says:

    lawl Spell checker! @Jon Parker:

  30. forever_knight says:

    wow. nazi spelling brigade is out in force!

    sounds like this could be the resolution we want…

  31. mosten says:

    I’m the person that posted the reply from the Gibson CEO, it’s legit and a direct paste from the email. Frankly, his reply seemed right on to me, Gibson isn’t a *huge* company, but the CEO doesn’t know everything that’s going on, but now that he does know, if it’s anything like the corp that I work for, all hell is going to break loose on the marketing drones for this giant screw up.

    Anyway, glad I could help.

  32. Roadkill says:

    Wait wait wait, grammar police here. You can’t say that “alleged Gibson CEO” and “possibly responds” in the same sentence. Logically you can either say an alleged Gibson CEO DID respond, or you can say a Gibson CEO possibly responded. You don’t get both or my head explodes.

  33. Roadkill says:

    Whoops, forgot to type an “an” in there. :P

  34. niteflytes says:

    The director of the division I work for in a state agency can’t even write a coherent sentence, doesn’t use caps or punctuation, can’t spell, and doesn’t even seem to know basic English grammar. With that in mind, I can forgive a few spelling errors and typos.

  35. @Roadkill: Well, that was the joke—that I really don’t know whether this is legit. If I could have gotten away with just a string of questions marks for a title, I probably would have tried that.

    But yeah, it was bad writing, deliberate or not. I’ll give you that.

  36. DW7 says:

    This, if legitimate, is still only damage control. As stated elsewhere, this is classic corp/Gibson corp. BS. They claim the guy has been fired, promise to get the bottom of it all while parading themselves as victims also. The lesson to be learned here is “intent” and “accountablity”. Look what it took to get what this guy was promised. They just threw Pitts under the bus and activated spin control.

  37. Tank says:

    @evarga: Just because he’s a CEO doesn’t mean he knows how to spell or use correct English. I worked for a multi-millionaire who could barely read. He sure knew how to sell the hell out of stuff and make deals though.

  38. BOOMER615 says:

    First off, I bet this is from Henry. He is a very bright guy with an MBA from Harvard. He probably typed this from his blackberry, hence the typos.

    I bet he will make good on his pledge, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

    Gibson is a huge company, including Baldwin Pianos and multiple other brands. They are in the middle of a big merger with a German firm. I’m surprised to see this coming from him during such a busy time. Again, a testimony to his commitment to customer service.

    The company prides themselves in customer service and quality, I doubt they will let this guy down.

    Let’s see how it plays out.

  39. bdgbill says:

    God I hate hip hop. I mean, I don’t hate it the way I say I hate country music. I can ignore country music and can even enjoy it in the right context. I mean I hate it like I hate the sound of having my own teeth drilled at the dentist.

    I can imagine the folks at Gibson being totally pissed that a non-musician won their gear and intended to sell it all immediately.

  40. clickable says:


    If “good taste” would be a reason to refuse compensation to popular entertainers… Well, I suppose you can imagine where I’d go with that, considering I’m more partial to Chopin études than to Lil’ Jon.

    In short, just because they might not like the winner’s attitude, or his plans about what he will do with the gear, doesn’t mean they can withhold the prize. I’m sure you realize that and just wanted to vent. I can emphathize.

  41. econobiker says:

    I googled “Don Pitts” & “Gibson Guitar” and ToneDef’s story is hitting alot of music related websites/forums pretty hard.

    Gibson probably has already seen more than $10k in advertising damage among heavy music gear users.

    This kind of deal made me remember when, during college, I was picked out of a group to “win” a free trip for attending a service demonstation at a hotel conference room (kind of like Direct Buy – a private buying club for $$$$ per year). I got the certificate to redeem and never, absolutely, never could get through to the travel company. This being pre-internet days I gave up and trashed the certificate…

  42. The Porkchop Express says:

    @ecwis: thank you, and also just because you are a CEO doesn’t mean you have or use good grammar or spelling. It means you know how to run a business(usually)

  43. dlab says:

    @Plaid Rabbit:

    Agreed, definitely looks like CEO-level grammer and spilling.

  44. yourbffjill says:

    @bdgbill: It’s a bit short-sighted to call him a non-musician if you haven’t heard him. He sings and plays the piano, and additionally his hip hop is not the same as the garbage that’s played on the radio and MTV.

    It’s fine if hip hop is not your thing, but let’s not revoke someone’s musician title because you don’t happen to understand their music.

  45. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @bdgbill: I agree with you. Rap makes me just want to punch a baby.
    @yourbffjill: I would think in order to be a musician you would need to create music. 99.9% of all the rap I have ever heard is somone stealing a beat or chorus and talking over it…not music! If he plays and sings than he is better than the majority of artists out there..