Longtime Diamond Comic Distributors VP-Purchasing Bill Schanes is stepping down from his position, effective April 30th, continuing as a part-time advisor to the company through the end of 2013.  He will be replaced by Executive Director of Purchasing John Wurzer, who will be promoted to Vice President of Purchasing.  Wurzer has been with the company since 1990 and in his current position, in which he has been responsible for the day to day management of the purchasing department, since 2001.
Schanes has been at Diamond for 27 years, which spans the company’s transition from a scrappy competitor in a field of distributors, to its ascendance as the single North American distributor of comics and related materials to comic stores and an important global player, and its maintenance and expansion of that position for the past 16 years.  That period also included the computerization of distribution, the implementation of nationwide release dates and many other distribution improvements, numerous boom and bust periods in the comics business, and its transition from a niche business for hobbyists to its current role as the inspiration for a dozen Hollywood movies this year. 
Diamond President and CEO Steve Geppi reflected on Schanes’ career.  "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," he said.  "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."
Diamond COO Chuck Parker, who joined the company the same year as Schanes did, in 1985, noted Schanes’ contributions to the expansion of the company’s product lines. Schanes "...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," Parker said.
Schanes has over 40 years in the comics industry, which began with retail in the San Diego area and grew to include distribution and publishing.  Pacific Comics, which he co-founded with his brother Steve Schanes, played an important part of the struggle for comic creators’ rights by publishing creator-owned work by Jack Kirby and other creators at a time when the idea of small, independent publishers competing with the Big Two for talent was unprecedented. 
Schanes was known to all in the business as a tireless worker who never stopped driving for Diamond’s success.  He had a comprehensive understanding of the global market for comics and related products, and could predict with uncanny accuracy from a quick look how many copies Diamond would sell worldwide to its thousands of retailer customers.  His network of relationships with Diamond suppliers, developed over decades, helped smooth over rough spots and take advantage of new opportunities as they arose.
We’re guessing he’s retiring with a ton of unused vacation time and a lot of frequent flyer miles, a great combination.
"Deciding to step down was not easy, Schanes said. “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."