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President of Diamond's parent company exits after 12 months, Steve Geppi takes over

(Image credit: Diamond Comic Distributors)

Geppi Family Enterprises (GFE) has a new president: it's namesake and founder, Steve Geppi. 

(Image credit: Geppi Family Enterprises)

GFE is the parent company of Diamond Comic Distributors,  the primary, near-exclusive distributor of comic books to comic book stores in the English-speaking world for the past 25 years. As of 2019, GFE employed approximately 700 people and operated 10 warehouses in the United States.

"Today I am announcing an organizational change that will help us lean even further into the many opportunities to elevate our industry, our business and our brands in this fast- moving and evolving marketplace," Geppi said in a letter to GFE employees Wednesday morning.

Geppi, 70, will act as president, in addition to his other roles as chairman and chief executive officer of the privately-owned company he founded in the early '80s.

(Image credit: Geppi Family Enterprises)

Stan Heidmann, who was hired as GFE president in June 2019, is stepping down and leaving the company. Heidmann joined the company after serving as a financial executive for the soda giant PepsiCo. On his LinkedIn page, Heidmann described his role at GFE as "to restructure the company, consolidate all of the brands, and conduct a technology transformation across the enterprise".

In his Wednesday morning letter to employees, Geppi writes that he and GFE's executive team "will support a comprehensive strategic review to position the enterprise for future growth".

In March 2020, Diamond ceased distribution of comic books due to concerns about the looming COVID-19 pandemic. As the primary distributor of comic books, this effectively halted a large portion of the industry - exacerbated by Diamond's later decision to halt payments to publishers for previously-distributed comics. Since then, Diamond set up a payment plan to eventually catch up on revenue owed to the companies it distributes comics and other products for.

During their distribution shutdown, however, DC - Diamond's second-largest vendor - decided to break from its 25-year exclusivity agreement for distribution to comic book stores. DC began working with two new comic book distributors (who were consumer mail order comics retailers, and two of Diamond's largest customers) to resume distribution in light of Diamond's hiatus. 

Diamond resumed distribution of new comic books (and other products) on May 20, 2020 - including DC's comic books. However, on June 5, DC announced that it would end its relationship with Diamond completely later in the year.

Chris has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, and has also written for USA Today, Life, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the  2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and the 2012 Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table.