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Thiel Makes Sweeping Changes

Brentwood, Tenn. — Thiel Audio is populating its new headquarters here with a new CEO, a sales and marketing senior VP, and new engineering, marketing, purchasing and operations employees as part of an effort to revitalize the legendary brand.

The high-end audio company also intends to “broaden the audience” for its products by “making the line visible to luxury buyers as well as the traditional audiophile,” the company said.

 “Thiel is placing an emphasis on designing new products to address a broad range of market segments including but not limited to high-performance audio, home theater and the custom installation channel,” the company added. To achieve the goals, engineering VP Mark Mason will design a new speaker series that will be launched in 2015.

“Our future is dependent on balancing Thiel’s 37-year history without constraining innovation in order to dynamically meet the changing needs of our consumers,” said John Wittman, the new CEO. He replaces Bill Thomas.

The company moved its headquarters to the Nashville area from Lexington, Ky., in large part because the area “provides access to an experienced and creative pool of talented individuals to help move Thiel Audio,” the company said. It also cited the city’s high visibility, music-industry roots and growing population.

Thiel operated in Lexington since its 1977 founding but will maintain a presence there. Longtime employees Lana Ruth and Rob Gillum will run the customer service and repair departments from a new Lexington facility.

Wittman’s business background includes consumer products, manufacturing, distribution and most recently publishing, the company said. He worked at American Home Products, Beiersdorf, Dow Chemical and Dep Corporation. He moved into publishing in 1997, first at Rand McNally and then other publishing companies.

The new sales and marketing senior VP is Paul Fisher, who worked at Unilever, Nestle, ConAgra and Mars Petcare before earning an MBA and transitioning into marketing/branding. He has worked in various marketing functions, including brand management and market research, for the past 13 years.