Martin Guitar CEO Chris Martin IV Announces Retirement

The family-owned company’s sixth-generation leader will step down in July 2021.

Chris Martin IV has announced plans to retire as CEO of the storied guitar-maker C.F. Martin & Co., which he has led for more than three decades.

Martin, 65, announced the news on Thursday (July 16): He will step down to the role of executive chairman in July 2021, and remain chairman of the board. Family ownership of the Nazareth, Pennsylvania-based company, which has supplied instruments to everyone from Elvis Presley to Ed Sheeran, will continue.

“I’ve spent over 40 years in my family business and what a ride it’s been,” Martin said in a press release. “Now I’ve reached the point where it’s time for me to move into the role of Executive Chairman. I am confident in the current leadership team because I know they love the company as much as I do and I will be working closely with them through this transition.”

Martin’s retirement will coincide with his stepping down as chairman of the National Association Of Music Merchants (NAMM). C.F. Martin president Jacqueline Renner also announced her plans to retire in Oct. 2021: “I have truly enjoyed working with Chris and all our co-workers over the last five years to strengthen Martin Guitar,” she shared.

Martin is now working with Hudson Gain Corporation to search for a new CEO-president. The news opens up the possibility for C.F. Martin & Co. to be run by someone outside the Martin family lineage. When Martin took reins of the family business following the death of his grandfather, CF Martin III, in 1986, he became the sixth-generation leader of the company, which was founded by German immigrant Christian Frederick Martin Sr.