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Thiel Under New Ownership, Gornik Leaving

Lexington, Ky. — The Nashville-based private-equity firm that bought Thiel Audio plans to improve marketing initiatives, shorten the delivery time of new products to market, and explore new product categories, said new CEO Thiel CEO Bill Thomas.

Thiel president/CEO Kathy Gornik is leaving Thiel, which she co-founded in 1976, according to a company spokesperson.

“We can improve efficiencies here at Thiel in the product development and manufacturing stages, shortening the time to delivery for new products with zero compromise in product quality,” Thomas said.

The brand will continue to focus on premium phase- and time-coherent speakers, and such longtime employees as Brad Paulsen, Gary Dayton, Lana Ruth and Rob Gillum will remain with the company, he said. The entire factory team and existing reps and dealers will remain on board, he added. Thiel’s R&D and manufacturing facility here in Lexington will also remain and “will continue to operate at full capacity as well,” he said.

As the company explores new product categories, it will do so only after investing “considerable time and energy speaking to our distribution channels worldwide” and gathering marketplace data “from those who know it best,” Thomas noted. An “immediate priority,” however, will be expanding the company’s architectural speaker series, he said.

In 2009, Jim Thiel, co-founder and co-owner of Thiel Audio, passed away at the age of 61. Thiel, who was the company’s product design engineer, co-founded the company that bears his name in 1976 with Gornik.

Thiel did not disclose the equity company’s name or Thomas’s experience but said that information would be forthcoming next week.