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Family-owned D'Addario & Co. passes the reins to the next generation

John D'Addario III, left, will take on the

John D'Addario III, left, will take on the title of CEO at D'Addario & Co. on Jan. 1, as founder and current CEO Jim D'Addario steps down. Credit: Sham Hinchey

Jim D’Addario, longtime chief executive and a founder of guitar string maker D’Addario & Co., will step down from his post as CEO next month, the company announced.

His nephew, company president John D’Addario III, will take over as CEO on Jan. 1. He will retain the title of president.

Jim D’Addario will assume a dual role as chairman of the board and chief innovation officer.

“Obviously, I’ve got very big shoes to fill in terms of what Jim did,” John D’Addario III said Monday. “At the same time, he’s not going away. The great thing about that is we can leverage his strengths which are certainly in the innovation part of the business. That makes it a lot easier for me.”

The family-owned manufacturer, based in Farmingdale, makes drumheads and sticks, reeds and other music accessories in addition to guitar strings.

Founded in 1973 in a 2,000-square-foot Long Island storefront by Jim D'Addario and his wife, Janet, the company started modestly with five employees and sales of less than $500,000 in its first year.

D’Addario & Co., which now sells its products in more than 130 countries, today employs more than 1,200 people and exceeded $200 million in revenue this year, the company said.

In his new role, Jim D’Addario will be responsible for driving innovation and product development initiatives.

“I look forward to being able to focus on the aspects of the business I’ve always loved most — creating new, dynamic products that solve musicians’ problems, and the innovative marketing behind them,” he said.

Over the past decade, the company has made efforts to consolidate its manufacturing operations at facilities in and around its Farmingdale headquarters, bringing production back from other states and overseas, particularly China.

The firm also has taken control of its global distribution operations in markets across the world, which had previously been outsourced to other companies.

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