ARNOLD WOLF

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ARNOLD WOLF


Image and Courtesy of Arnold Wolf

 


Arnold Wolf has to be credited with some of the most significant and varied contributions to the ultimate success of JBL.

Wolf was President of JBL from 1969 to 1979. He will be the first to tell you that JBL's success during his tenure was not the accomplishment of any one person. Dr. Sidney Harman, as head of JBL's new parent company Jervis Corporation, provided the vision and strategic direction that placed JBL on the path to market supremacy. As President, Wolf was ably assisted by Irving Stern (Vice President, Marketing), Sterling Sander (Vice President, Operations), Albert Schwartz (Vice President, Manufacturing) and many other talented people.

While Wolf assumed the presidency of a company that had a reputation for state-of-the-art products, it was still focused on niche markets. On the consumer side, JBL was primarily known for its high end speaker systems and components. It had yet to establish a major presence in the mass markets. In the professional arena, their movie industry and studio products were well regarded, but the dominant company remained JBL's arch rival, Altec Lansing.

All of this was to change by the end of Wolf's tenure at JBL. As an example, by 1977, Billboard Magazine published a survey of the studio market that showed more studios employing JBL monitors than all other brands combined. The consumer L100 had been introduced and rose to become the most successful loudspeaker ever developed to that time. JBL became THE name in sound reinforcement, supplying equipment to such high profile events as the original Woodstock and Watkins Glen rock festivals.

Presiding over such a remarkable transition is accomplishment enough, but it doesn't begin to document the contributions of Arnold Wolf. Nor does it capture the multifaceted and multitalented nature of this man. How else do you describe a man who began as a juvenile radio actor, was formally trained in theatre arts, made an initial career as a drama director, transitioned to a career in industrial design, played a key role in the design of the JBL Paragon, designed JBL's corporate logo, and then went on to become President of the company. If the story of this man sounds intriguing, read on.........