Co-President, D’Addario & Company, Inc.
D’Addario & Company, Inc., has been quite busy over the last several months, rolling out new initiatives, overhauling its corporate organization and maintaining its leadership position in the accessories portion of the music products business. It’s been a particularly consequential time for John D’Addario III, who, this past summer, ascended to Co-President of the company, a title he shares with Rick Drumm. This fall, The Retailer sat down with D’Addario III for an in-depth discussion on all of D’Addario’s latest moves. The discussion included everything from his being promoted to Co-President to the company’s firm, unyielding commitment to domestic manufacturing, as well as some thoughts about D’Addario’s dedication to the dealer channel. It’s a discussion you won’t want to miss.
The Music & Sound Retailer: Let’s start with your background. Touch on the highlights of your own story as it pertains to the music products industry. Tell us about the path you’ve traveled on the way to becoming Co-President of the company that bears your family name.
John D’Addario III: My career started at D’Addario, where I worked every summer as a teenager, picking and packing orders and working on a variety of operational projects, including industrial engineering and planning. After graduating from college, I worked three years at a contract manufacturer of cosmetics where I held customer service and operations positions until 1996, when I officially joined our family business full-time. My first project at D’Addario was organizing our acquisition of the Kaman Musical String division that summer. I handled all the due diligence and the coordination of moving all the equipment and inventory from their Connecticut factory to New York. From there, I orchestrated all the data transfers and industrial engineering work that enabled us to smoothly transition the Kaman String division to our New York-based factory.
After several years of planning production, I became the D’Addario Product Manager for several years, before I took a role in sales as our National Sales Manager. I eventually succeeded longtime D’Addario employee Kathy Slezak as the VP of Worldwide Sales. Eventually, in 2007, I was promoted to Executive Vice President and named to our Board of Directors. Most recently, I assumed the responsibilities of Co-President.
The Retailer: Explain a bit about the organizational restructuring that led to Rick Drumm and you being named Co-Presidents. Why does this new corporate structure make sense?
D’Addario III: As a result of…