Guitar Center makes changes to leadership team, appointing Gabriel Dalporto CEO
Guitar Center has made a number of changes to its leadership team.
Per PR Newswire, Gabriel Dalporto – a member of the company’s Board of Directors since December 2018 – has been named Chief Executive Officer. He replaces Ron Japinga, who served as CEO since 2016. Japinga will also no longer serve as a member of the Board, effectively immediately.
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As Guitar Center explains, Dalporto previously served in a C-suite role at LendingTree, Inc., where he was “instrumental in driving the company’s transition from a microcap, mortgage-focused marketplace to a multi-billion dollar, fully diversified financial services marketplace”.
He also served as CEO of Udacity, an online education platform focused on digital upskilling and talent transformation.
“Gabe has deep expertise in areas critical to advancing Guitar Center’s strategic initiatives, including digital transformation, customer acquisition and maintaining a best-in-class customer experience,” says a group of Guitar Center’s equity investors.
“As a Board member, his insights have been invaluable, and we are thrilled to welcome him as the company’s next leader.”
The group continues: “We are confident that Gabe’s demonstrated track record of successful transformations, along with his strong operational and financial capabilities, will empower the team and accelerate our efforts to guide Guitar Center to sustainable, long-term growth.
“We also thank Ron for his contributions to Guitar Center. Under his leadership, the Company grew its revenue base and evolved from a brick-and-mortar retailer to an omnichannel platform. We wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
In a statement of his own, Dalporto says: “Coming from a family of musicians, some of my fondest memories growing up were of visiting Guitar Center stores with my father where we obsessed over the incredible guitars and cutting-edge equipment.
“I look forward to continuing to enhance that same in-store experience for our customers while also leveraging my digital transformation expertise to meet customers wherever they shop. It’s rare in life to have one’s personal passions and professional interests align so perfectly, and I’m thrilled to lead such an iconic brand into its next phase of growth.”
Elsewhere, Ken C. Hicks, a “seasoned retail industry executive bringing over 40 years of operations and management experience”, has been appointed Chairman of the Board, while Tim Martin is returning to the company as Chief Financial Officer, a position he previously held between 2012 and 2022.
“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Guitar Center, our employees and our valued customers,” adds the company’s investor group. “The appointments of Gabe and Ken, as well as Tim’s return, will bring substantial new capabilities to the Company that will allow us to unlock new growth opportunities. Gabe’s transformation and digital expertise combined with Ken’s retail experience, along with Tim’s extensive knowledge of the Company and industry, position Guitar Center well for long-term success.”
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