DAYTON, Ohio — WinWholesale Inc. announced Jack Johnston has been named chief executive officer of the company. Johnston retains his title as president of WinWholesale. Rick Schwartz, who previously was CEO and chairman, is stepping down from the executive role after 17 years. Schwartz remains chairman of the WinWholesale Board of Directors.

“I’ve been with WinWholesale for 43 years and served as its CEO for the past 17 years,” Schwartz said. “After much planning and consultation with my wife, Jane, and the succession planning committee of our board of directors, I decided it’s time to pass the leadership baton to Jack, who I know to be an exceptional leader and will continue to take WinWholesale forward on its growth trajectory. He strongly believes in and will continue to execute our company’s entrepreneurial philosophy we call ‘The Spirit of Opportunity.’

I have tremendous faith in our next level of management and the employees of WinWholesale and the entire Win Group of Companies," Schwartz continued. "This is part of an ongoing succession process that will ultimately result in putting the next generation of executive leadership in place. We have a great team waiting to move up and it will be fun to watch them succeed and grow. As chairman, I will remain active on the board of directors, an advisor and an advocate for the strategic direction of the organization, assist with the ongoing training efforts, be an ambassador and visit companies with more time for travel, and help reinforce the basic principles and philosophy of the company. I am also the president-elect of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and will be president next year, so I expect to be very busy.”

Schwartz took over the CEO role upon the retirement of Dick Schiewetz, a founding investor and leader of the company. Since Schwartz became CEO, WinWholesale became one of the leading wholesale distributors in the U.S.  Sales tripled during Schwartz’ tenure as CEO to $2.5 billion in 2014, and earnings quintupled.

Johnston becomes  the third chief executive officer in the history of WinWholesale, which was founded in 1956 under the name Primus. “This is the culmination of a lot of work by our succession planning committee,” Johnston said. “I’m both excited and humbled to step into this important role. Rick and his predecessor Dick set great examples as leaders, and I’m committed to carrying forward our company philosophy, principles for success and strategic objectives.”

Johnston joined WinWholesale in 1977 as an accountant with Dapsco Inc. (now WinWholesale Group Services), the organization providing complete shared business services for WinWholesale local companies. He became Dapsco Inc. treasurer in 1980, and in 1998 was named president. Johnston led Dapsco as it delivered accounting, finance, payroll and tax filings, data processing, software product development, fleet management and property management services to the independently-owned Win local companies across the United States.

In 2005, a restructuring formed the current WinWholesale Inc. Following the restructuring, Johnston became chief financial officer. He was appointed president in July 2011.