D&H Canada brings in HP vet Michelle Biase as Canada GM to drive aggressive growth strategy

The GM role, which has not been filled since Greg Tobin’s retirement, gives more authority than the VP of Sales role which has been held by the last two Canadian heads, and is part of a broader effort to drive D&H’s Canadian business.

Dan Schwab, D&H Distributing’s Co-President.

SMB-focused distributor D&H Canada, which announced the expansion of their new BFG initiative from the U.S. into Canada two weeks ago, has followed that up with the announcement that Michelle Biase, who most recently ran HP Canada’s managed print services business, has been appointed General Manager of D&H Canada.

The BFG initiative, which includes additional monthly credit extensions for Canadian partners, new vendor programs, and an increased staff headcount, is intended to double D&H’s business in Canada over the next two fiscal years. The appointment of Biase as D&H’s first General Manager in Canada since Greg Tobin retired is intended to drive that further.

“This is the next step in investing for growth with the right leadership structure and model,” said Dan Schwab, D&H Distributing’s Co-President. “Since we announced the BFG expansion into Canada, another 16 roles have been greenlighted in the Canadian marketplace.”

Schwab emphasized the importance of bringing back the GM role, which had been unfilled since Tobin’s early 2019 retirement, with two successor leaders holding the VP of Sales title.

“One of the key leadership pieces was the GM role,” he said. “When Greg Tobin retired, we weren’t sure that the role was needed. We have now decided that in order to scale, and provide the growth we wanted – from a sales, operational and investment perspective – it was, and so we decided to recruit a GM.”

Schwab said that while the VP of Sales is still a role in the Canadian business, the GM is a more all-encompassing role.

“It oversees all aspects of the business, including finance and warehousing, not just sales,” he indicated. “They run their own P&L and have autonomy for Canada. We have always provided our Canadian organization autonomy. We believe decisions should be made closest to the customer and the vendor, to improve  speed to market, price and service. Our peers are part of large private equity owned companies. In contrast, we are private and will always be private.”

Schwab also said that Biase met all the qualifications in what D&H wanted in a GM.

“Michelle checked all the boxes,” he stated. She worked at a large corporate reseller [CDW], a large vendor [HP]and distributors [Tech Data and Merisel, earlier in her career]. Before we hired Greg Tobin, we thought about acquiring a company and then we found someone who fit our DNA. Michelle  had the same kind of skills that can show our partners what they need to be successful and how to leverage distribution. She has the necessary business skills, a focus on people, and has some HR background.”

Michelle Biase, General Manager of D&H Canada

“When I started having conversations with D&H, it was an opportunity to have an amazing next chapter,” Biase said. “The opportunity was so attractive to me that I couldn’t pass it up. I love to build opportunities for teams to be successful. The growth D&H is driving in Canada really does require a different culture, to give resellers the skills they need to be successful. The success of D&H has been their longstanding culture and retain that, and we will keep that as we adjust to the culture of hybrid work environments, by hiring smart people and enabling them to do work.”

“The D&H business model has been based on evolution not revolution,” Schwab stated. “As a private company, we try to evolve every month, every week and every day. We will look to her to bring new things to accelerate our evolutionary path.”

Biase will spearhead D&H Canada’s immediate and long-term growth strategy. This will include building out D&H Canada’s Professional Services offerings, and adding additional enablement categories around areas like work-from anywhere devices and modern infrastructure, managed security, ProAV and XaaS.

“A lot of these already exist in the U.S.,” Biase said. “We will see what can be brought into Canada and customize things to our market as needed.”

“Our big picture strategy has been laid out, but it is high-level,” Schwab concluded. “Michelle will define and execute on that. People think highly of us because of our service focus, and Michelle will add to that brand.”