Changes at Diamond Management: Wurzer to replace retiring Schanes

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E M T Change Changes at Diamond Management: Wurzer to replace retiring Schanes
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.”

Comments

  1. David Scroggy says:

    Let me be among the first to wish Bill Schanes a great retirement, and to thank him for his many and varied contributions to our industry. I got my start at Pacific Comics in 1975, working for Bill and his brother Steve, and was able to tag along as they evolved from a comics shop and mail order dealer into one of the first direct-sales distributors, and eventually one of the first viable independent publishers.

    At Diamond, Bill was (and is) an important part of the management team as the business continued to weather many ups and downs. Throughout it all, he has been a consistent “straight shooter” and stand-up individual. A lot of people and companies have come and gone during his long tenure at Diamond, but Bill has remained a voice of reason and consistency.

    You may not always get the story you would like to hear from Bill, but he will give it to you straight, and different people get the same honest appraisal. That’s integrity in my book.

  2. Agree with above comment. Bill is a stand-up guy; glad to hear he can go back to his rock’n’roll roots in SD!

  3. Ed Brubaker says:

    I never knew Bill, but his PB Pacific Comics location was the first comics shop I ever went to as a kid, in 1976. I wish him well.

  4. Jackie Estrada says:

    Who knows, Ed, we might have been in the store at the same time at some point!

  5. I’ve known and worked with Bill for a lot of years in the business as a retailer and as a publisher and he was not only an asset to Diamond but the industry as well. I wish him the best of luck in his future plans.

  6. John Shableski says:

    Congratulations Bill! I was fortunate enough to work with Mr. Schanes during my time on the books distribution side of Diamond and as David already said, Bill is the guy who tells you just how it is. Bill, I hope you will still be around the circuit for a while to come but in any case, may there be many more good things to come. Who knows, maybe they’ll let you move back home to San Diego.

  7. Bill has certainly earned every good thing that has and may be coming his way. Among my former DC colleagues, I was a latecomer to a relationship with Diamond, but after one meeting with Bill, I felt like we had been working together for decades. When I hatched the plan to form Bonfire, Bill became our earliest supporter, adviser, partner and, at times, client. “Good guy” doesn’t do him justice; I feel fortunate in being able to call him friend.

  8. I like Bill tremendously, and he’s always been very good about listening to suggestions about products Diamond might want to carry, or how they might change their front-facing data and structures.

    Plus he has that awesome ‘stache!

    -B

  9. Brother Bill:

    I am so proud of you. You are an amazing man who moved the Comic Book business forward for 40 years. Happy retirement !!
    Love always

    Steve

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  1. [...] Recently Diamond announced that longtime VP of Purchasing Bill Schanes was moving to a consultant role, to be replaced by John Wurzer. [...]

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