A big change at Diamond executive team as VP of Purchasing Bill Schanes is stepping down after 27 years. He’ll be replaced by John Wurzer, who as Executive Director of Purchasing has been responsible for day-to-day purchasing decisions for the last 12 years. Schanes will remain in an advisory capacity through 2013.
Schanes’ 40-year long career goes back to the dawn of the direct sales market, with his role at Pacific Comics, a publisher and distributor of underground and alternative comics. Through it all, Schanes has remained a forthright and accessible executive. I recall seeing him at an early SPX taking questions from angry ’90s self publishers on what Diamond could and couldn’t do. It wasn’t really a necessary step for a company that had a monopoly even then, but it gave creators a chance to air their concerns.
I’ve never been one to jump on a Diamond-bashing bandwagon—all things considering, they are far more responsive to even the smallest players in the business than a lot of business manuals say they they need to be. I’m not certain how much if this is directly attributable to Bill Schanes, but he certainly came out of the comics culture where this was key. He’s definitely one of the pioneers of the direct sales market and after everything he’s seen, has earned a break to enjoy life more.
Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. announced today that industry pioneer and longtime Diamond executive Bill Schanes is stepping down from his position as Vice President of Purchasing, effective April 30, 2013. Schanes will continue at Diamond in a part-time advisory role, at least through the end of 2013.
Executive Director of Purchasing John Wurzer, who began his career at Diamond in 1990, will be promoted to Vice President of Purchasing, with overall responsibility for Diamond’s Purchasing and Order Processing departments.
“Deciding to step down was not easy,” said Schanes, “It’s been a wonderful and enjoyable ride! But after twenty-seven challenging and fulfilling years at Diamond, and forty-plus overall years in the comic industry, I’m looking forward to spending more time simply enjoying life.
“As a co-founder of Pacific Comics in 1971, Bill already had over a dozen years of experience in comic retailing, distribution and publishing when he came to work for me in 1985,” said Diamond President and CEO Steve Geppi. “Since then, Bill’s vision, creativity and dedication have contributed greatly not just to Diamond’s success, but to the success of our industry as a whole. I’m extremely grateful to Bill for all of his contributions, and wish him much success and happiness in the future.”
“For starters, given his excitement about the opportunity to move to a new and different chapter in his life, I am extremely happy for Bill, but will certainly miss interacting with him on a daily basis,” said Diamond Executive Vice President & COO Chuck Parker. “We both joined Diamond in 1985 and, over the years, Bill’s been an outstanding colleague and friend. He is an extremely hard worker with a very creative mind and he passionately cares about what we do as a business. Amongst his many accomplishments, Bill’s focus on vendor relations and product diversity helped turn what once was a modest two-page order form into Diamond’s monthly PREVIEWS catalog, an incredible showcase for the comics, graphic novels, and related pop-culture products our industry has to offer. What’s more, together with John Wurzer, Bill has assembled an experienced staff of Purchasing and Order Processing professionals who are poised to build upon his efforts going forward.”
“My decision to scale back my workload was made easier by the fact that John and I have worked closely together for well over a decade, and I know he is extremely qualified to assume a larger role,” said Schanes.
Wurzer began his Diamond career as an Office Manager at a Diamond Distribution Center in Dallas, TX in 1990. He rose to become Manager of the Center, then Regional Manager of Diamond’s inventory hub in Sparta, IL, before transferring to Diamond’s Home Office in 1999 to assume the role of Director of Order Processing. In 2001, Wurzer was promoted to Executive Director of Purchasing and has been responsible for the day to day operations of the Purchasing department for the last 12-years.
“John is a very bright, hard-working, systems-oriented leader,” said Parker. “He’s been a great asset to the company, having already contributed to many high level management initiatives, and we congratulate him on his well-earned promotion. I have full confidence in John and I feel the Purchasing department continues to be in very good hands moving forward. ”
“I’d like to thank Bill Schanes for all the guidance and friendship he’s provided,” said Wurzer, “and I look forward to reaching out to our vendors during this transition to continue to build upon the strong relationships they already have with Diamond.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.