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Bill Schultz (Fender)

William Charles Schultz (July 30, 1926 – September 21, 2006) was the CEO of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, and is credited as the "man who saved Fender."[1]


Born at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Schultz graduated as an engineer from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1965 and went to work for Bethlehem Steel, Baltimore. While working at Bendix Aerospace on radar tracking devices for the Apollo Space project, he got a Master's in aerospace engineering. In 1971 he received an MBA from Rutgers University and got a job at CBS.[2]

Schultz worked for Yamaha Corporation when he was asked to become the company president of Fender in 1981 by then-president of CBS Musical Instruments, John C. McLaren. When CBS decided to sell the struggling company in 1985, Schultz and several other employees purchased it.[1] Schultz was among the management team who recommended CBS to start an alternate production of Japanese Fenders in 1982, as the company's sales suffered from the onslaught of copies produced by Japanese manufacturers such as Tokai and Fernandes Guitars.

Schultz (and through him, Fender) became a major donor to Duquesne University, which honored him in 2001 with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a week of concerts.[3] He retired in 2005 and was replaced by Mendello,[2] though he remained on the board of directors. Schultz died in 2006 of cancer.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "'Man who saved Fender' Instruments". Chicago Sun-Times. 24 September 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Change of the guard at Fender: Mendello succeeds Schultz as CEO in seamless transition". Music Trades. 1 May 2005. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  3. ^ Hayes, John (25 July 2001). "Duquesne honors Fender chief". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 19 May 2010.