New Martin Guitar CEO succeeds family leader
C.F. Martin & Co. has announced that Thomas Ripsam has been appointed the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Ripsam succeeds longtime Chairman and CEO Christian Frederick Martin IV, who assumed the role of Executive Chairman of the Nazareth-based company, effective June 14.
“I complete my term as NAMM [National Association of Music Merchants] 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,” said Martin in a June 14 press release.
“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,” said Martin.
“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 [Ripsam] as he gets to know all of us and shares the love we all have for the guitar,” Martin said.
Ripsam’s 25-plus-year career began at Booz Allen & Hamilton, and most recently as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He has worked with consumer goods companies, specialty retailers, technology-solutions providers, Fortune 50 companies and family-owned businesses.
Ripsam, an avid guitar player, collects fretted instruments. He took a sabbatical in 2019 to work with a luthier to learn about the process of building acoustic guitars in the style of Martin.
“I have admired Martin guitars since I was a teenager,” said 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, Ripsam said.
Ripsam received an MBA in Strategy and Finance from Columbia Business School and a BA in Business Administration and Management from Reutlingen University, Germany, and Middlesex University, London.
For nearly two centuries, C F. Martin & Co. has made guitar, ukulele and string products.
Martin has introduced innovative features, including X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar, and the “Dreadnought”-size guitar.
Martin has also led innovations in strings, introducing the first high-tensile strength steel-string core wire; the first nickel acoustic strings, the proprietary Titanium Core strings and the new Authentic Acoustic line.