The long sad saga of Thiel is just about over for good. Having entered bankruptcy in October 2018, an auction house has finally been selected and started the process of liquidating all that remains of the former Nashville, Tenn-based Thiel…including Thiel Loudspeakers, Aurora by Thiel wireless music systems, and detritus from the Aurora Studio live streaming music studio.
Strata-gee *EXCLUSIVE* Interview with Tom Thiel
Although Strata-gee has loosely followed Thiel Audio for many years, since 2012, when the company was sold by co-founder Kathy Gornik to a group of Tennessee private equity investors, our coverage intensified. Part of the motivation for devoting more coverage to this stage of Thiel, was a growing interest in the apparent deteriorating state of specialty A/V – but it was also fueled by a wacky, reality-show like, “You’re Fired!” atmosphere as principal owner David B. Griffin routinely dismissed newly constituted management teams. With five different CEOs over a five-year period, some with tenures measured in months, the company’s business suffered from inconsistent fits-and-starts as each team pursued a new direction.
This state of constant turmoil at Thiel caused extreme consternation among – first the Thiel dealer base, and when that disappeared – Thiel end-users, many of whom were huge fans of Jim Thiel. A host of audio forums and bulletin boards had ongoing, passionate postings bemoaning the end of an era: the end of the Kathy Gornik era…and of course, the end of the Jim Thiel era.
Kind of like in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, when Obi-wan says: “That boy is our last hope.” Yoda replies: “No, there is another…” [Read more…] about The Forgotten Thiel
Thiel Owners Celebrate the News of the Rebirth of Thiel Service
The rumors have been swirling around various audio blogs and forums for a couple of weeks now and Strata-gee has confirmed that the service department of Thiel Audio, the only part of the Nashville-based company that remains in Lexington, KY, has been split off from the company and purchased by long time head of service, Rob Gillum. The development is incredibly good news for Thiel owners everywhere, many of whom were crushed to hear the brand was closing down.
Rob Gillum talks to Strata-gee… [Read more…] about King Thiel is Dead, Long Live Coherent Source Service
After a tumultuous five-year period, which began in 2012 when Thiel was sold to Tennessee private investor David B. Griffin, we can now confirm that Thiel Audio has been closed for good. Failing some kind of 11th hour rescue, another great American audio brand will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
See what we know of the closing of Thiel Audio… [Read more…] about Thiel is Toast, Specialty Audio Takes Another Hit
New CEO Outlines a New Future for the 40-Year Old Brand
You practically need a scorecard to keep track of the revolving group of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) that have come and gone from Nashville-based Thiel Audio. The specialty speaker company has had five CEOs in four years – leading to an unending series of disjointed actions from a disconnected group of high-powered executives, each with their own vision of where to take the company.
Now it is new Thiel CEO Elyse McKenna’s turn…and she has a plan… [Read more…] about Thiel Audio’s New CEO, Elyse McKenna, Talks to Strata-Gee
Thiel Audio announced this week that it will introduce a new loudspeaker system – the TT1 – at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. Calling it an “ultimate performance three-way loudspeaker,” the announcement is the first major launch since the current management team was put in place earlier this year.
But, the TTI was not a total surprise… [Read more…] about Thiel Says It Will Introduce New TT1 Speaker System at CES
In a telephone interview today, new Thiel Audio CEO John Wittman told us that the company “struck a chord with me personally,” virtually compelling him to take over as CEO after the owners’ invited him to look at the company last winter. Over the course of an interview that went on for more than a hour, Wittman candidly shared his thoughts and perspectives in an enthusiastic and – to the degree he felt appropriate – open manner.
See what Wittman had to say about where Thiel is at…and where it’s going… [Read more…] about Thiel’s New CEO Says Company ‘Struck a Chord’ Compelling Him to Join
Thiel Audio dealers were surprised to receive an email Wednesday from the company announcing plans to – in their words – “revitalize” the storied audio brand. We last reported in April that the company had finally acknowledged to its dealers that it was moving its operations to Nashville, TN – after 38 years in Lexington, KY. This acknowledgement came one week after we reported to Strata-gee readers that the company planned to move.
Since then, the company has been silent. Now, this announcement sets out a new agenda for change – and it is an ambitious one.
See the many changes announced at Thiel… [Read more…] about Thiel Announces a Brand Relaunch…Again
Our inquiry started innocently enough. Last week, we received an emailed press release that contained this headline: “VANA Ltd. Appoints Stephen DeFuria as Director of Sales, East.” Now we generally receive dozens of press releases every day – but this one caught our immediate attention…literally causing us to pick the phone to make a call for confirmation. Why? Because Stephen DeFuria was part of a team hired by Thiel Audio to help turn that business around – and now, only one year later, he is out…with no explanation. But that was just the beginning.
Now, there’s reason to question whether the “other shoe” may be dropping at Thiel… [Read more…] about Thiel Audio: DeFuria & Brown are Out; Is the Other Shoe Dropping?
Much has been written on the changes at Lexington, KY-based Thiel Audio Products Company (Thiel) in the wake of its purchase by a group of Tennessee investors that we first reported last November. Shortly after their acquisition, strata-gee.com was invited to speak with Bill Thomas – one of those Tennessee investors and now the new CEO of Thiel Audio. And a couple of months after that, we had the opportunity to speak with new Thiel interim COO and Board member Bob Brown.
But many Thiel-related reps and dealers kept asking us about co-founder and former President Kathy Gornik. Some of this curiosity was related to rumors that Gornik had been forcibly removed from the respected high-end loudspeaker company that she helped found. And some of the interest centered around an unanswered question, not covered by any of the press (including Strata-gee.com) as to why Gornik decided to sell the company.