Gibson CEO Takes Leave Of Absence From Rainforest Group While Feds Investigate Imported Wood

When agents raided Gibson Guitar’s manufacturing facility earlier this week, some articles pointed out that the company’s CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was on the board of the Rainforest Alliance, a group that certifies businesses to sell their goods under an environmentally sustainable label. Now the group has postponed its annual certification of Gibson Guitars, and Juszkiewicz is temporarily stepping down from the board.

From the Tennessean:

After the federal search, Juszkiewicz called the alliance and offered to take a leave of absence “to avoid conflict or distraction,” said President Tensie Whelan. “It’s very difficult to know what’s happening at this point,” Whelan added. “Our hope indeed is there will be no violations of the Lacey Act.”

Juszkiewicz has been on the group’s board for more than 15 years and has taken a lead role in urging the music instrument industry to use sustainable wood products, the group said.

NPR notes that the Rainforest Alliance was supposed to review the company’s records on Monday in order to renew Gibson’s certification. In light of the investigation, they’ve postponed that review, reports NPR:

That audit is now on hold as the US Fish and Wildlife Service looks for evidence that the another kind of wood used at Gibson came illegally from Madagascar. Company officials have said they’re cooperating with the investigation, and that they only use law-abiding suppliers.

“Gibson Guitar CEO leaves rainforest group after Nashville raid” [Tennessean] (Thanks to Smashville!)
“Rainforest Alliance Postpones Gibson Audit” [WPLN]

“Feds Raid Gibson Guitars”