D&H Completes Management Transition

D&H Completes Management Transition

D&H Distributing Monday formally announced a long-anticipated management transition with brothers Michael and Dan Schwab, longtime vice presidents, taking over as co-presidents effective May 1 for the family run, employee owned small and medium business (SMB) distribution powerhouse.

Gary Brothers, a 35-year D&H veteran who became president eight years ago, will continue in his current role until May 1 and then take a position as President Emeritus.

The 63-year-old Brothers, who helped drive D&H from $450 million in sales to a nearly $2 billion distributor, said he has been planning his departure with CEO Izzy Schwab, who will continue in the top job, and Michael and Dan, for the last year. The 72-year old Izzy, who took over as CEO eight years ago, began working for his co-owner father David 50 years ago and then brought sons Michael and Dan into the business.

Michael, a 19-year D&H veteran who is currently vice president of purchasing, and Dan, a 14-year D&H veteran who is currently vice president of marketing, said they both have been working hand in hand over the last year with Izzy and Brothers to assure a smooth transition that is invisible to both solution provider customers and vendors.

"This is an opportunity for Dan and I to look toward the future with a mindset and go to market strategy that takes us to the level beyond which Gary has already taken us," Michael said. "Part of the strategy is to look at where does D&H go from here? We certainly know we have great things lined up for the foreseeable future. Part of our role is to help the organization understand where the next opportunity is for D&H."

One example of how the brother tandem could start to put its mark on the distributor will come in the next 90 days when D&H will make an announcement centered on "educating the channel" on innovative new technologies, said Michael.

Dan characterized the new co-president role as a minor change since both he and Michael were already working hand in hand with the full D&H management team to maintain the current direction on all vendor and solution provider programs, policies and relationships.

What's more, he said, the 90 year heritage of the family run business is centered on group management aimed at continuing the "long term philosophy of customer first" in all aspects of the company's operations. "In some companies a change like this means a complete change in direction, but for us this is really the baton being handed off to carry forward the same values and tradition going forward," Dan said. "We're looking to continue D&H's record growth and our service to our customers and the brand we have built with vendors to help them accomplish their goals."

As part of the management transition, D&H announced five other promotions:

Jeff Davis, a 26-year D&H veteran and current vice president of sales, will be promoted to senior vice president of sales.

Rob Eby, a nine-year D&H veteran and current director of purchasing, will be named vice president of purchasing.

Mary Campbell, a five-year D&H veteran and current director of marketing, will be named vice president of marketing.

Tina Fisher, a 16-year D&H veteran and current purchasing director, will be promoted to senior director of purchasing.

Mark Bowser, a 14-year D&H veteran current purchasing director, will be promoted to director of purchasing operations and Canada.

Brothers, for his part, said he is preparing to move to rural upstate South Carolina to a new home that he began building a little more than a year ago. He said he will be available to assist Michael and Dan for the rest of 2008.

Brothers said he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Mary Ellen, his daughter, and two grandchildren, and doing some traveling and charity work. "Clearly it's going to be a slower pace," he said of his move to South Carolina. "I am leaving the way I think is a good way for people to go out. I feel good. I am healthy and want to do some other things with my life."

Patrick Derosier, co owner of CPU Guys, a Hanson, Mass, solution provider that has partnered with D&H for the last nine years, praised D&H for its sharp focusing on maintaining tight personal relationships with its partners. He said D&H is much more services oriented than other distributors who seem more concerned with making a product sale than helping solution providers.

"They are not just a distributor," he said. "If you have a question on something that is not clear and need in-depth product information or a real answer from someone that has used the product, D&H will you get the answer or get you to someone that will." He said other distributors and vendors sometimes want to pass of a solution provider call to an overseas 800 number or an email box, but not D&H. "It's nice to call and get what you need and not get shoved off to someone else," added Derosier. "They always get you where you need to go."