Fender Musical Instruments Corporation Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) celebrated its 20th anniversary as a company last Friday, March 18, 2005, at its worldwide headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. More than 200 employees were on hand to take part in the celebration, which included an afternoon party, a group picture, and the presentation of a special commemorative 20th anniversary Stratocaster® guitar from FMIC President William Mendello to Chief Executive Office Bill Schultz.
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Addressing the FMIC staff in Scottsdale, William Mendello said, "It's seems like only yesterday that we started this company with little to go on. Since then, we've performed one of the greatest turnarounds in business history, and none of this would have been possible without the continued hard work and dedication of every one of you here today, and in our facilities throughout the world."

"However, none of us would have had this opportunity if it were not for the vision of one man," added Mendello, "and he is Bill Schultz. I have known Bill for more than 24 years, and he has been a wonderful friend and business partner, and he is the reason that we are all a part of the greatest company in our industry."

On behalf of all of FMIC's employees, Mendello then presented Schultz with a one-of-a-kind, hand-made FMIC 20th Anniversary Stratocaster guitar.

Said Schultz, "It has been an honor and a privilege to have all of you as a part of the FMIC family, and while we have accomplished a great deal in our 20 years together, there is still a great deal to be done. If you remember the passion that brought you here and you live it every day, we will continue to be the best company in the industry."

It was in March of 1985 that Bill Schultz and his group of investors purchased the assets of Fender® from broadcast giant, CBS. During their 20 years of ownership, CBS lost sight of a number of important aspects of being a successful manufacturer. By the early 1980s, the Fender brand name was consistently losing money, and CBS ultimately decided to sell the company.

As President of Fender under CBS, Bill Schultz knew the value in the historic brand name, and was not satisfied with the thought of simply letting it go. He quickly called upon existing employees, long-time business associates, family and friends, and was able to raise the capital needed to buy the assets of Fender.

While the early going was rough—the deal included only the brand name and some existing inventory, but no manufacturing facilities—Schultz knew that he had assembled the beginnings of a team that believed in building a quality product, who understood the needs of its consumers, and who were dedicated to restoring the status of a musical icon.

In just 20 years, Bill Schultz, President William Mendello, and the staff at FMIC have done what very few companies have ever accomplished—they have taken a struggling brand name with a 50 year-old product to the top of its industry.

FMIC has enjoyed a steady growth since 1985, and it is now the single largest and most successful manufacturer of electric guitars, basses and amplifiers in the world. In addition to the Fender brand name, FMIC markets under the brand names Squier®, Guild®, Jackson®, Charvel®, SWR®, Benedetto®, Tacoma®, Olympia®, Orpheum®, Gretsch® and Rodriguez®.

The company operates directly in more than 12 countries around the globe with an unrivaled sales and distribution structure, and it maintains its own state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in California, Washington and Ensenada, Mexico.

Instruments such as the Stratocaster® and Telecaster® guitars remain the instruments of choice among professional musicians, collectors and enthusiasts alike, and FMIC continues to exceed the expectations of quality and innovation among those who rely on FMIC products to express their passion.

For more information, please visit www.fender.com.