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C.F. Martin & Co. Names Thomas Ripsam as New CEO

C.F. Martin & Co. appointed Thomas Ripsam as its new chief executive officer. Effective June 14, 2021, Ripsam (pictured above) succeeds longtime Chairman and CEO, Christian Frederick Martin IV, who assumes the role of executive chairman.

An experienced growth strategist and leader, Ripsam has guided numerous boards of directors and leadership teams to shape strategies and deliver results. His expertise in strategy development, digital/technology deployment, and continuous improvement will ensure the continued growth of the 188-year-old company, according to C.F. Martin & Co.'s announcement.

After 35 years as the company's CEO, Chris Martin is stepping into his new leadership role of executive chairman. The company says this transition comes as its is experiencing unprecedented demand for its products.

“First, I want to thank everyone in the music products business for their support during my 35-year career as CEO of my family’s business. What a ride!” says Martin. “I complete my term as NAMM chairman this July at the show in Nashville, and I have been thinking about retiring for several years, so this felt like the right time. I look forward to transitioning to the role of executive chairman of Martin Guitar where I will continue to be a cheerleader for the Martin brand. I am excited to work with Thomas as he gets to know all of us and shares the love we all have for the guitar.”

Chris Martin hands the reins to Ripsam, who, over the course of his 25+ year career, first at Booz Allen & Hamilton, and most recently as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, took on leadership responsibilities for growing the business, developing service offerings, and managing teams. He has worked with consumer goods companies, specialty retailers, technology solutions providers, Fortune 50 companies, and family-owned businesses.

An avid guitar player, Ripsam collects fretted instruments and took a sabbatical in 2019 to work with a luthier to learn about the process of building acoustic guitars – in the style of Martin. He holds an MBA in strategy and finance from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in Business Administration and Management from Reutlingen University in Germany and Middlesex University in London.

“I have admired Martin guitars since I was a teenager,” says Ripsam. “My first real acoustic was a Martin guitar and it has been a close companion to me since.  Martin has always been an iconic fretted instrument builder and I have a deep appreciation for the company’s continued focus on quality, craftsmanship, and innovation, as well as its unique culture and history. I am honored and humbled to join the Martin family and to carry on the legacy of Chris Martin and his predecessors.”

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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