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United Hardware Names New CEO

Douglas Audette will be the new president and CEO of United Hardware Distributing Co., the company’s board of directors has announced. Audette will replace Steven Draeger, who announced his decision to retire in May after serving as president and CEO for 10 years.

In a statement, the board of directors says Audette is “highly experienced at transforming companies by building a culture where leaders throughout the organization can thrive…”

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Douglas Audette, president and CEO of United Hardware

Audette has 30 years of experience in retail merchandising, category management, wholesale distribution, brand stewardship and profit and loss management, according to the statement.

“I’m looking forward to serving United’s members and helping them build strong businesses that are equipped for success into the future,” Audette says. “I’m also looking forward to getting to know the United Hardware team and working with them to build a high-performing culture that current employees will embrace and others will aspire to join.”

Meg Thoreson, United Hardware board chair, says Audette’s appointment comes after a “rigorous and thorough” selection process.

“We were thrilled by both the amount of interest in the role and the number of exceptionally qualified candidates,” Thoreson says. “We are energized by Doug’s appointment and eager for him to dig into his new duties; and are grateful for Steve Draeger’s enduring dedication to the member-dealers and cooperative as well as his support during the transition.”

At the company’s Fall & Winter Dealer Market in June, Draeger reported sales had been up 6 percent in the first half of the year and average ticket size had grown 8 percent.

About Todd Taber

Todd Taber
Todd is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017 and now serves on the news and marketing teams. In his free time, he likes to run, spend time with family and travel the country.

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