Diamond Comics Distributor, the sole distributor of weekly comics products to the direct sales market, has just announced a huge reorganization.

Among the changes: Roger Fletcher, who served as VP of Sales and Marketing and had worked at Diamond for 31 years, has departed. And Chris Powell will be taking an expanded role in the newly created position of Chief Relationship Officer.

The moves were announced in an email by Diamond founder Steve Geppi and follow the hiring in May of Stan Heidmann, a former PepsiCo executive who was hired as president of the Geppi Family Trust, a company that oversees all of Geppi’s holdings, including Diamond, Overstreet and so on.

I’m told that since then Heidmann has undertaken a close audit of all Diamond functions and businesses – hired as an “efficiency expert” in other words.

I’ve also been hearing of a lot of tumult within Diamond, with several of their underperforming legacy businesses being looked at very closely and long term employees perhaps thinking about tidying their desks.

Chuck Parker, formerly Executive Vice President and COO of Diamond – charged with running the overall business – has a new role as “Chief of Staff” to Heidmann which sounds…well, not exactly a promotion.

I’m not as well versed in the roles of all the Diamond execs mentioned in the below release, but we’ll be covering this story in depth as more reactions emerge from the retailing and publisher community. Diamond is the single most important entity to the pamphlet economy at comics shops and this could have huge repercussions.

Because EVERYONE is going to have an opinion. This could be the start of huge changes at Diamond, a companyw whose trade terms have not changed in 20 years, despite the rise of online retailing and a few other things.

Now we know what everyone will be talking about at NYCC BarCon.

The release from Diamond in full below:

In a letter to employees, vendors, and key retailers, Steve Geppi, Chairman and CEO of Geppi Family Enterprises, the newly formed parent company of Diamond Comic Distributors, announced key appointments to the company’s new leadership team, as well as outlined his vision for the pop-culture companies it represents:

“On May 16th, I announced the hiring of Stan Heidmann as president of Geppi Family Enterprises (GFE).  I also announced the formation of the Office of the Chairman comprised of Stan, Joe Foss as Vice Chairman, and myself as Chairman and CEO.

My vision for the Geppi family of companies is to remain leaders in the pop culture industry. We will continue to be a company that others are eager to work with and work for. Our focus will be on investments in our people, infrastructure, and relationships.  I feel a tremendous responsibility to our employees and the industry and believe these investments position both for a brighter future.

Today I am pleased to announce some major steps in our collective journey into that future.  Effective immediately, the following individuals will be assigned to the Office of the Chairman at Geppi Family Enterprises:

Chuck Parker will serve as Chief of Staff for Stan Heidmann. He has served as Diamond Comics’ COO and will now act as a senior advisor and coordinate the execution of GFE’s strategic initiatives.

Larry Swanson will continue to serve as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the same role where he’s been helping lead our companies.

Dan Hirsch will direct all sales and revenue efforts for GFE as our Chief Revenue Officer.  Before co-founding Alliance Game Distributors, Dan owned and managed several comic retail businesses. In this new position, he will make great use of that experience with comics, graphic novels and collectibles in addition to his knowledge of the tabletop game industry.

Charlie Tyson will assume the role of President at Alliance Game Distributors as Dan Hirsch transitions into his new role.  As the co-founder of Alliance, Charlie is uniquely suited to take on this role and will continue the tradition of excellence for which Alliance is known.

Chris Powell has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Relationship Officer.  Having worked in brick-and-mortar and online comics retail before joining Diamond, Chris will be responsible for supporting our existing teams in the growing relationships with our current and future publishers, vendors and retailers.  In this new role, Chris will lead our efforts to strengthen those relationships while developing new relationships throughout the marketplace. Chris will also facilitate the cooperation between our different companies, ensuring improved customer experiences for our consumers, retailers, and suppliers.

Tim Lenaghan, as Chief Procurement Officer, will be directing all purchasing functions for GFE and continuing to manage Diamond UK with the great leadership team there.  Tim will be responsible for sourcing, supply management, and procurement for all our companies, leading our existing teams and helping them discover new products for our growing markets.

Shawn Hamrick, as Chief Logistics Officer, will be responsible for all warehouse and logistics operations for our companies. He will continue to refine the procedures and infrastructure that allow for the efficient and accurate transfer of products in and out of all our operations, and will support the ongoing monitoring and development of our transportation planning to reliably move our products all over the world. Shawn has more than 25 years of experience managing various Diamond Comics operations, including the massive overhaul of the Olive Branch Distribution Center and implementation of new technologies that have dramatically reduced shortage and damage reports from our customers.

Roger Fletcher has chosen to step away from the company after a successful 31-year career with Diamond.  Roger started in 1988 as a Manager of Diamond’s Denver warehouse.  He moved to Baltimore in 1990 and was promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing soon thereafter.   Roger’s contributions to Diamond, and the industry, have been significant.  We will miss him and wish him well in his future endeavors.

I and my executive management team have a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m very excited about the opportunities. Every day, my companies have hundreds of people working to ensure a stronger future for the comics and pop culture industry and with these changes, I believe we are providing for a more secure future for us all. I appreciate your continued support and look forward to many more years working together.”