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D&H is elevating vice presidents Dan Schwab and Michael Schwab to the roles of co-presidents at the company their grandfather founded in the early part of the last century.

The long-planned succession at the Harrisburg, Pa.-based technology distributor will take place over the course of 2008 as the company’s current president, Gary Brothers, moves into a less active role as president emeritus on May 1 after 35 years with the company. Izzy Schwab will remain in the role of CEO.

And while the company has made some significant changes recently, most notably with an international play by expanding operations with a warehouse in Canada, the Schwab brothers downplayed any dramatic changes they would make to the company in the coming year.

"For us it’s more of an evolution," said Michael Schwab, of the management transition and recent Canadian expansion.  "We’ve been able to help our partners move upstream with advanced technologies. Our Canadian organization has become very successful. So this management change is almost a non-event internally."

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Dan Schwab agreed. "We’ve made numerous transitions like these and our management knows how to not be destructive when they happen."

Rather, much of the excitement will come from the market itself, with new technologies such as unified messaging and mobile communications offering big new opportunities for partners, according to the Schwabs.

"We’ve seen a lot of partner interest in that kind of thing," Michael Schwab said.

The brothers were not ready to announce who would take on what responsibilities in their new roles as co-presidents, but said they’d worked closely in tandem in their previous roles – most recently with Michael as vice president of purchasing and Dan as vice president of marketing – and they expected to continue to do so in their new roles as well.

"I think they’ll do an outstanding job," retiring President Brothers said. Brothers joined the company in 1973 and was elevated to the role of president in 1999. "This transition has been underway for quite some time."

Michael Schwab, a 19-year D&H veteran, played a key role in the distributor’s recently announced partnerships with Lenovo and Cisco. He holds legal and financial degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Villanova University. He has also worked for accounting and consulting firm Arthur Andersen.

Dan Schwab, a 13-year D&H veteran, grew the nascent education division 30-fold in less than six years from a base of less than $5 million, establishing it as a top distributor to college bookstores and K-12 distributors. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and previously held retail positions with May Co.’s Lord and Taylor in Manhattan.

Gary Brothers began his D&H career as a sales rep in the Baltimore office. By 1979 he was promoted to the Harrisburg headquarters where he helped establish the company’s Electronic Specialty Products Division which later became the Computer Products Division. After rising to president of the company in 1999 he grew the company from $400 million to approximately $2 billion.

The 90-year-old company, named for founder David Schwab and his step-brother Harry began its life in 1918 as Economy Tire and Rubber, re-treading solid tires, but changed course in 1926, when D&H Distributing added crystal radios to its line card. Over the years the company added several new product groups to its offerings including household appliances, and ultimately computer technology.  It remains a family-run, employee-owned company.

Other management changes at D&H include:

  • Jeff Davis, a current vice president of sales credited with expansions into new channels and customer groups, will be promoted to senior vice president of sales.  He has been a D&H employee for 26 years and a vice president since 1999. 
  • Rob Eby, current director of purchasing, will be named vice president of purchasing. 
  • Mary Campbell, current director of marketing, will be named vice president of marketing. 
  • Tina Fisher, current purchasing director, will be promoted to senior director of purchasing. 
  • Mark Bowser, current purchasing director, will be promoted to director of purchasing operations and Canada.