Berklee Today

News of the Board of Trustees


William Schultz
Photo by Bob Kramer
 

At its October meeting, the board of trustees named William Schultz, CEO and Chair of the Board of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, as its newest member. The appointment of Schultz brings total board membership to 30.

A native of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Schultz attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he majored in music, business, and accounting. After graduation he played saxophone and clarinet professionally before serving in the U.S. Air Force in World War II. After the war, he embarked on his first entrepreneurial venture as owner of a music repair and service business in McKeesport.

For years, Schultz worked for various music manufacturers and retailers and was frequently involved in the educational efforts of the companies. He was hired by Yamaha Musical Instruments Company in 1969, and became that company's president in 1978.

When Schultz was named president of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation in 1981, the company, then a division of CBS, was losing money. Schultz restructured the sales and marketing concept by promoting Fender's heritage as a pioneer in the electric guitar and bass industry, and as creator of the guitar amplifier. He also overhauled the manufacturing procedures and developed offshore operations in Mexico and Asia. In 1985, he completed a friendly leveraged buyout from CBS and was named Fender's chief executive officer and board chair. Under Schultz's guidance, the company's revenues topped $200 million by 1998, and it is ranked among the top seven manufacturers of musical instruments in the nation.

In addition to his work at Fender, Schultz has maintained his connection with music education through affiliations with Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the Guitar Accessory Manufacturing Association (GAMA), and the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). The result has been the development of an aggressive nationwide program aimed at expanding the use of guitar in school music programs.

Berklee has enjoyed an ongoing association with Schultz since the mid-1990s when he joined the board of visitors. Fender has instituted a guitar amplifier loan program with the college to equip ensemble rooms and guitar studios with over 200 amplifiers. The company has also provided scholarship support enabling 200 students to attend the annual Summer Guitar Sessions.

Of the appointment of Schultz to Berklee's board of trustees, President Lee Eliot Berk stated, "Schultz's entrepreneurship in the music industry and commitment to music education is a perfect fit with our mission and identity."