image of Taylor co-founder Kurt Listug

Kurt's Corner

Hail to the Chief

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Kurt has complete confidence in Andy’s ability to lead the company forward as President and CEO.

In late May, we took the next step in implementing the company’s succession plan when Bob and I stepped down from our positions and the Taylor Guitars board (established as part of our transition to 100-percent employee ownership) appointed Andy Powers President and CEO in addition to his role as Chief Guitar Designer. Bob and I continue serving the company as Senior Advisors, and joint chairs of the board. Andy now heads the company along with leading our guitar design.

When Bob and I started the company as a couple of young guys, there was so much to learn and figure out. I don’t think there’s any way one person could have done it, as it was so overwhelming. But we were very excited, and we each focused on learning the parts of the business we were most interested in. While Bob learned how to make guitars, I learned how to sell them and turn a profit.

In recent years, as Bob and I thought about our succession and looked into the future, we projected it would be more of the same. Bob wanted a guitar maker to run the company, whom he found in Andy. I presumed I’d find someone with my skills, either from within or outside the company, to eventually replace me. I wasn’t actively searching, but in 2020, as we worked on our plan for selling the company to our employees (via an ESOP), I realized that Andy was very capable of assuming my management duties.

Andy cares about Taylor Guitars being an honest and well-run company, and staying focused on its mission of building instruments that inspire.

For starters, he wouldn’t have to establish sales, marketing, distribution, finance or human resources departments as I had — these were now well established and operated by highly skilled professionals. His role would be to oversee and direct them, as my role had evolved into. Andy and I had spent the past several years working together on budgets and reviewing financial statements together, and he’s worked closely with sales and marketing since he joined the company more than a decade ago. He’s well qualified. 

I’ve spent a lot of time with Andy since he came to Taylor in 2011. He’s a uniquely talented person, both an accomplished musician and a world-class instrument designer and builder. If you ask him what he cares about, he’ll talk about his family and friends, music and the people who make it, as well as designing and building musical instruments. He cares about Taylor Guitars being an honest and well-run company and staying focused on its mission of building instruments that inspire people to make music. He also wants to be a good steward of the resources we use. Bob’s approach to making guitars is arguably more of an engineer’s approach than Andy’s. My approach to the guitar business leans more into sales and marketing in addition to finance. Andy takes both of our talents and strengths and elevates them to a new level. I’m excited to see him lead the company into the future he envisions for it!