New York, NY (February 2, 2015)—A wave of layoffs has hit the upper management of Guitar Center and its pro-AV arm, GC Professional. Across all of Guitar Center, the overall reduction includes 43 corporate positions, primarily at the corporate offices in Westlake Village, CA, plus an additional 28 field management positions.
Among those affected at GC Pro are Rick Plushner, vice president of GC Pro, and an unknown number of regional managers. Plushner had been with the company since 2005, when he joined as general manager of GC Pro and rose through the ranks to be appointed VP in 2011.
As a result, the reporting structure for GC Pro has changed; a Guitar Center spokesperson told Pro Sound News, “Through the recent changes to the corporate and field supervision staff, Guitar Center Inc. will continue to focus on professional sales through GC Pro. Going forward, GC Pro will be reporting directly to the Senior Vice President of Services rather than through the stores in order to provide more targeted outside sales services to businesses and music professionals.”
Michael Amkreutz, executive vice president, Marketing, Merchandising and E-Commerce, addressed the overall reductions in management in a statement to the press last week, remarking:
“After a comprehensive evaluation of our staffing levels, including a detailed benchmarking of staffing levels by function and department compared to similar size specialty retailers, Guitar Center’s leadership team made the difficult decision to reduce corporate and field supervision staff. The reduction included less than one percent of the overall workforce and consisted of reductions at the corporate offices in Westlake Village and field management positions. This action was designed to create a more effective and efficient organization and was based on functional area. Despite this reduction, we continue to actively recruit for a variety of positions in Westlake Village that are matched with the needs of our ongoing growth plans.
“Guitar Center thanks these individuals for their dedicated service and we all wish them the best in their future endeavors.
“There are no plans to reduce staff at our 260-plus stores. Our customer base is strong and for them, business will continue as usual. Our store opening and remodeling program continues, as does our ongoing dedication to the opportunities we offer musicians—unparalleled inventory and selection, clinics, lessons, repairs, our nationwide searches and competitions and unmatched service every day. In spite of how difficult these decisions were to make, and the challenges that these reductions present to some of our dedicated associates, this restructuring was made to put us in a more positive position to serve our customers and vendors.”