MSC Industrial Direct Co., Long Island's seventh-largest company by revenue, said Thursday Erik Gershwind will take over as CEO on Jan. 1.
The Melville distributor of industrial tools and supplies said the succession plan has been in place since 2010. Gershwind, 41, who is currently president and chief operating officer, will succeed David Sandler, 55.
Gershwind was named chief operating officer in October 2009. Two years later he became president.
"It is an extraordinary opportunity to lead MSC as we enter this next phase of development here and in the industry," he said. "I believe MSC is in an ideal position to continue to grow and gain market share."
Sandler was named CEO in 2005. He will become executive vice chairman of the board until at least 2017, the company said.
Sandler has said that he eventually wants to spend more time with his family, but has also said that MSC has represented "a career to which I remain deeply committed."
In June when the company announced it would establish a second headquarters, in suburban Charlotte, N.C., some local officials feared MSC would move off the Island.
"I plan to be in the job for many years, and I am going to be doing it right here," he said.
MSC has 4,636 full-time employees, including 688 on Long Island. Sales totaled $2 billion in the fiscal year ended August 2011. The company will report fiscal 2012 results next week.
MSC stock closed at $70.81 a share, up $1.35 in New York trading Thursday.